Deafheaven’s 2017 Tour Setlists: An Analysis

Deafheaven’s setlist from their show at Mardi Gras in Boise on 3.25.17

When Deafheaven played their first show in Boise on March 25 — at Mardi Gras, a venue typically reserved for wedding functions — they provided the five-day Treefort Music Fest with its only dose of shoe-gazing black metal.

Deafheaven brought fans not only to the water (hey, word games are fun) but also brought a near-riot. The mayhem — bodies crushing forward, a ceaseless mosh pit, grapplers bicep-ing their way to the front — outdid any other show at the predominantly indie-rock festival.

After braving the front row of Deafheaven’s performance, the drenched-in-sweat Bad Penny jumped onstage and snagged guitarist Shiv Mehra’s setlist. It was a suitable reward for an hour’s worth of getting crushed against the stage and monitors, and kicked in the head by crowd-surfers.

Deafheaven’s show format was systematic — fitting for a perfectionist band whose lead singer, George Clarke, physically orchestrates many of the notes with rigid-yet-flamboyant precision.

Deafheaven opened with three songs from their most recent album, 2015’s New Bermuda; deep-dived into “Language Games” from their 2011 debut, Roads to Judah; resurrected their cover of Mogwai’s “Cody,” which appeared on a 2012 split with Bosse-de-Nage as well as the Japanese edition of 2013’s Sunbather; and closed with a triplet of tunes from that universally adored record.

Here’s the rundown of songs Deafheaven played at their first show in Boise, for posterity:

• “Brought to the Water”
• “Baby Blue”
• “Come Back”
• “Language Games”
• “Cody” (Mogwai cover)
• “Dreamhouse”
• “Sunbather”
• “The Pecan Tree”

The setlist mostly mirrored the lineup of songs Deafheaven played during their tour across the U.S. from January 12 through March 27.

However, as you’ll notice in the above image, the band scrapped a potential performance of “Unrequited” from Roads to Judah. They also omitted Sunbather‘s “Irresistible,” to which they treated cities including Seattle, Minnesota, Detroit, Brooklyn and Houston (both places where they played “Unrequited” as well).

For those keeping track, the band treated Dallas, Albuquerque and Las Vegas to “Unrequited” — but not “Irresistible.” And in San Francisco, Deafheaven’s hometown, they played “Unrequited” as well as “Daedalus” from Roads to Judah.

In Los Angeles, where Deafheaven kicked off their jaunt, they delivered the best setlists of the tour (no surprise). On the first night at Echoplex, the black-metallers played “Unrequited” and “Daedalus” and “Luna” from New Bermuda (a top-notch song surprisingly absent from the other shows). On the second night at the same venue, they played “Irresistible,” “Daedalus” and “From the Kettle to the Coil,” a solid tune that was released as part of Adult Swim’s 2014 weekly single series.

And all those aforementioned songs were played in addition to the setlist they played in the City of Trees.

Still, a not-too-shabby set for Deafheaven’s first show in Boise.



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