Dead! @ Sheffield Rockin’ Chair ★★★★☆ 2/6/14

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In the dark basement setting of Sheffield’s Rockin’ Chair’, Dead! take the stage (singer Mountford takes the floor). Dead! are midway through their UK headline tour (nicknamed ‘Tourtanic’) and with a history of impressive friends and tours backing them up, the Southampton boys are climbing the ladder of the scene quickly and effectively. Charmingly referring to themselves by their last names, vocalist Mountford prowls the vicinity of the stage (and the floor) like a lion, and guitarist Matlock soon joins him with his full-frontal musical attack.

Self-professed “honest musicians” Dead! keep the unwavering attention of the room, none more so than from the eager first row of fans, who relish being inches away from Mountford’s face as he sings Verona’right in their avid little faces.

Matlock’s microphone sees action this evening as his screams add a post-hardcore edge to their usually subtler set. Gauging the crowd, Mountford is met with no raised hands as he asks the question “who here hasn’t seen us before?” Encouraging, to say the least. He continues; “I suck at this stage talking thing, so I’m gonna shut up and we’re gonna play a song called Phantom”. Phantom’s crisp and clean vocals with a raspy edge have an endearing quality of seeming sometimes strained. It’s a dancey track, and the stand out from EP Tu Me Manques, offering fashionable riffs and a spoken word section, with which tonight’s lyrics differ to on record. One thing to note about Dead! is, they’re really fucking young. And with this, comes a brazen disposition, but their mothers taught them well, and they display a polite attitude all at the same time. It’s a shy bravado, an oxymoron, but that’s kind of Dead! to a t.

Another EP offering is Alaska, about film Into The Wild. But who here has seen the film? A quick survey is taken of the room, resulting in… a poor result of viewers. Nevertheless, it’s beginning, a beautiful Demolition Lovers-esque intro, soon overtaken by a thrashing melody, quietens down again, leaving space to truly appreciate the track. It’s a ballad with a twist, and is delivered with real emotion from Mountford, and prompts some pretty emphatic arm-waving from the audience.

Set closer Beautiful Broken Bones, whose comparison to My Chemical Romance’s Mama cannot be denied, coaxes the crowd into frenzied jumping and clapping as it’s infectious bassline and instantly likeable naivety makes it the perfect show closer. Words are taught to the hungry spectators, as Mountford makes full use of the space in front of the stage to throw himself around like a rag doll (with much better hair).
As people file out into the cold and rainy streets of Sheffield, we’re considering this a success for the boys. Ok, so it’s a technically a pub gig. So what? Dead! prove themselves in any venue, any setting, and most of all, are such a likeable bunch: who gives a fuck?

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Check out Dead!’s EP on iTunes! Tu Me Manques – EP – Dead