Big Deal / Fazerdaze /Joshua Gray – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – Wednesday 10th June 2016
After stumbling across Fazerdaze on the Beech Coma compilation last year, their self-titled E.P. was one of my most listened to records of 2015. But, given that they come from New Zealand, it never seemed likely in this day and age that I would ever see a Fazerdaze live performance.
So, when I found out about their UK tour with Big Deal, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see the band on their third date in Edinburgh last Wednesday.
It’s impressive that a band with no record deal can make it halfway round the world to play shows but nevertheless it still felt slightly surreal to be watching Fazerdaze in person.
Surreal or not the band played a great set that mixed older tunes from the aforementioned E.P. with songs from the forthcoming album (and a cover?).
However the show almost got off to a bad start with guitarist Mark nearly impaling himself on Amelia’s guitar whilst trying to move around the cramped stage. Fortunately no damage was done and the set progressed.
None of the songs ever departed too far from the notional dream-pop label but, in a live setting, the band demonstrated an even greater range than on the E.P. with a raucous ‘Treading Lightly’ at one end of the spectrum and a quieter, more introspective new song at the other.
I couldn’t have hoped for anything more from the set and I’m sure that they won over plenty of new converts.
Who knows if I’ll ever get the chance to see them over here again but I have a sneaky feeling that it’s a real possibility. I certainly hope so.
If, as explained in the Fazerdaze interview the other day, it was a series of happy accidents that led MPT to this show then it was also a happy accident that former Vladimir bass player Joshua Gray and his band ended up opening the show.
MPT witnessed Josh’s debut solo appearance a few weeks back at the Cool Cat Club and as you’d expect the additional members added a whole new dimension to the songs.
Whilst I think the comparison only holds so far, the set reminded me a bit of Galaxie 500, perhaps as much in terms of the slightly melancholic mood than anything else, but also in that a couple of the songs were stretched out for gentle climaxes.
Very promising and a great fit with Fazerdaze.
Joshua Gray (left)
I confess that I knew nothing about headliners Big Deal before finding out about the tour but I did manage to explore their second LP ‘June Gloom’ in advance. My conclusion was that whilst it has its moments the album could have done with a little more energy.
Which is more than a little ironic as the live set was completely the opposite. From the off Big Deal were loud leaving little room for subtlety.
Certainly the best of their songs, recent single ‘Say Yes’ particularly, survived this approach but for me the overall impact was lessened.
Perhaps ‘Terradactol’ illustrated this best. On record it boasts a killer riff but one which is deployed sparingly to great effect. Not so live – it was a unrelenting monster, which on its own wouldn’t be a problem but was too typical of the first two third sets of the set.
It was after that song that an audience member implored the band to “slow down”, a request that was met with a little surprise from Kacey. Yet it was a turning point in the set – the intensity did ease back a bit after that allowing the songs to breathe before concluding with ‘Talk’.
Overall I quite enjoyed the set but with a little more restraint it could have been much better. I’m not sure I’d rush out to see them in their own right but I’ll likely try the new record.
More photos from the show available here (although being honest they’re not great).
Big Deal and Fazerdaze continue to tour in England as follows:
- Jun 13 The Boileroom, Surrey
- Jun 14 Joiners, Southampton
- Jun 15 Oslo, London
- Jun 17 The Winchester, Bournemouth
- Jun 18 The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
- Jun 19 The Louisiana, Bristol
- Jul 23 Bungalows and Bears, Sheffield