Deap Vally / Band of Skulls @ House of Blues, San Diego – 5/19/14 Deap Vally / Band of Skulls @ House of Blues, San Diego – 5/19/14

Words by Griffen Callahan / Pics by Robert Schell Photography
Full photo galleries down below

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The aura of the crowd was one of nonchalance, and indifference, when Deap Vally walked out on Monday night. It was an all-ages show, which these days fill me with the desire to yell at the half-grown hipsters to STAY THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN, but I digress.  Perhaps many were here solely for the headliner, Band of Skulls, and thought they would check out the opener.  I was left with the distinct impression that many of these people had no idea what they were in for.  From the moment Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards stepped barefoot onto the House of Blues stage, they started converting the leery skeptics.

Halfway through their amazingly bluesy version of “Baby I Call Hell”, I started seeing surprised looks, and slow nods between friends, acknowledging that they had stumbled upon something special.  By the end of the night their merchandise table was flooded with new fans.  Most eager to collect a new shirt, and perhaps even have it signed by Lindsey, who hung out chatting with fans for forty minutes after their set ended.

The Los Angeles based rock duo must be used to apprehension from uninitiated concertgoers by now.  It’s honestly hard to fathom the depth of sound these two can crank out with just a guitar, a drum set, and a couple microphones.  Although they tout the same dynamic that put The White Stripes, and The Black Keys, on the map, their sound takes a distinctly different direction. Their songs walk the line between heavy metal, and garage rock, while the vocals on some tracks come off as hauntingly blues tinted.  I swear Lindsey was channeling Janis Joplin at one point; all that was missing was a tall glass of Southern Comfort (although I cannot recall ever seeing pics of Janis in sequined daisy dukes).

They seem to have gained more confidence since last I saw them at Outside Lands last year.  Their passion comes across in their stage presence.  From the way Lindsey carelessly tosses her steel slide behind her when she’s finished with it, as if she doesn’t care if she ever finds it. To the way Julie closes her eyes when she drums, dramatically lunging over her set to silence the cymbal after a crash, letting her red curls wash over her drums, as she slides back to an upright position.  They gave a performance that felt like a play at times; a kind of Rocky Horror Picture Show, with less androgynous characters, and more amplifiers.   During their execution of “Six Feet Under”, Julie provided some particularly beautiful background vocals, while Lindsey hypnotized the crowd into a slow synchronized body sway, reminiscent of a snake charmer with a cobra.

They stuck mainly to songs off of their 2013 debut studio album, Sistrionix; however, they did play one new song, “Grunge Bond”, which I can only hope is beginning tremors of a second album.  The end came far too soon.  Only given enough time for eight songs, they made the most of their allotment, weaving together a powerful set.  If there were any non-believers in the building at the beginning, I doubt there were any left.  Well done, ladies, well done.

Set List:

  1. “Baby I Call Hell”
  2. “Gonna Make my Own Money”
  3. “Raw Material”
  4. “Lies”
  5. “Grunge Bond”
  6. “Six Feet Under”
  7. “Walk of Shame”
  8. “End of the World”

Pics of Deap Vally @ House of Blues, San Diego – 5/19/14

Pics of Band of Skulls @ House of Blues, San Diego – 5/19/14

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