Shows like this prove emphatically that music is a gift that keeps on giving.
Ten years after the release of their self titled debut E.P, Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus have embarked on a tour of some of their favorite stomping grounds with an all new concert that is unlike anything put out by the band before.
Joining them for the journey are Melbourne’s Strangers, who are themselves promoting their second album Mirrorland.
Providing an insight into the all new show promised by the headliners and with a minimalistic acoustic stage set up, Strangers played a stripped back show and seemed comfortable in the unfamiliar acoustic surroundings, with a tight and polished set that concluded with the title track off their new album and the band was effective enough in this form to suggest that you should make sure you put yourself front and centre next time they play at venue near you.
Returning to the New Globe Theatre where the E.P in question was launched a decade ago, Dead Letter Circus have certainly delivered on their promise of unique new interpretations of their loved songs by expanding their group size to eight with the addition of a stand up cello, violin and keys to their stage set up and from the moment Kim Benzie greeted the crowd with a simple ‘hello’ it was evident this was going to be a more intimate and personal affair.
The band members all wore matching black button up t-shirts which created a strangely ambient feel, helped largely by the minimal light set up and red backdrop.
Starting with ‘Here we Divide’, Benzie paused momentarily after the first song to introduce the evening and the additional band members, before informing the crowd “you guys aren’t going to know any song we play tonight but we are going to enjoy looking at your faces while you figure it out”.
And he wasn’t joking.
Each song has been seemingly stripped back to its purest form and dissected and arranged so that they only faintly resemble the tunes that the fans know and love. There is enough substance left to be able to recognize the songs for what they were but here they were presented beautifully and in such a fashion that they could almost be entirely new songs.
Benzie’s already hypnotic voice was accentuated by the soft tones of the acoustic performance, and while the crowd seemed to take a few songs to actually embrace what DLC was trying to do, by the time ‘Lodestar’ rang through the speakers large portions of the crowd were doing their best to sing along to the fragmented versions of the songs in their head.
‘The Veil’, ‘Tremors’, ‘One Step’ and ‘The Mile’ were standouts, but each song had its own special slice of energy and deliverance and could easily stand alone in the versions presented rather than the versions known.
Each member of the band seemed to play within themselves but also obviously enjoyed the new direction of the music, and judging by the looks on their faces and the smiles of encouragement afforded each other between songs, they knew themselves that this was something special.
The band have obviously devoted a great deal of time into practicing these new versions of the songs, with their timing and delivery top notch throughout.
Finishing the night with the E.P played in track listed order before closing with ‘Silence’, Dead Letter Circus tonight paid homage to their history, their music and their fans, and in doing so reconstructed a period of time a decade in the making.
It was a celebration as well as a declaration of intent and it will be interesting to see what they can do to top this another ten years down the track.