Put simply, last night a dream came true. Dead Can Dance until recently was a band I had not dreamed of seeing live but now they are reunited, I jumped at the chance to see them.
From the outset almost every single track felt slightly sped up compared to their album counterparts. Opener “Children of the Sun” set the tone with heavy percussive beats rumbling your very bones. The drums were full of roaring bass so that the gantry we stood on felt like it was shaking. It added to the atmosphere perfectly. Brendan’s vocals seem to improve with age. He has a silky low coating to his voice that makes him sound hypnotic, especially when singing in a different language such as he did with a song I hadn’t heard before inspired by a 1930’s Greek song. I hope this means new material is still coming and a new album could be on the cards soon. Brendan is mighty as he swaps various instruments throughout and owns the stage as he gets really into it. Lisa is very static and Brendan makes up for it when he’s not playing sixty instruments at once.
Lisa’s vocals steal all the big showcase moments although the vocal duties were split 50/50. “Agape” was immense sped up with extra hammered dulcimer, “Sanvean” predictably got the loudest cheer and “Cantara” was the sole track that took a slightly more sedate feel. It felt far more hypnotic than raw. A revelation however was their keyboard player Astrid Williamson whom gave some very strong backing vocals and after reading the guide saying she has a solo career – I will certainly investigate her soon!
Some of the best moments were when Brendan and Lisa came together with added Astrid. “Host of Seraphim” became a beautifully haunting vocal montage and the finale “Return of the She-King” was the perfect rousing ending.
If you ever want to see a band in that has perfected a live performance and want something different. Dead. Can. Dance…. now.
Return of the She-King