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Live review: Deap Vally at EartH Hackney, 08/06/24

The fierce LA duo play debut album Sistrionix in full at their last ever London show


When it was announced that Deap Vally were separating, this writer was devastated.

Ever since seeing them perform in front of an afternoon crowd at Glastonbury, I was blown away by the sheer noise the duo (guitarist Lindsey Troy and drummer Julie Edwards) made with just two instruments. And, despite the overwhelmingly sticky June heat, they still managed to look completely badass while doing it. Crunchy, scuzzy, their LA garage sound was all about fat riffs, thumping beats and complementary shag haircuts. I adored them instantly and have done ever since.

However, when Troy took to Instagram last September to announce the band’s decision to call it quits, I was sad (of course) but not surprised. After a touching homage to bandmate Edwards, Troy went on to say: “The truth is, it’s just a f*cking grind, punk-rock touring, year after year. We each have two kids now and it’s just not practical to continue touring at our level of success. We just can’t make it work anymore in a way that’s healthy for our psyches, bank accounts and our families.” 

As angry as this made me (I’m enraged there isn’t more support out there for touring musicians, female musicians particularly), being there for the last hurrah was non-negotiable. The farewell tour, Troy announced, would ensure they went out “with a bang”. Ladies, take my money.

So here we are at EartH, deep in the heart of Hackney. It’s the penultimate night of the EU/UK leg of the tour and Deap Vally are about to play their debut album Sistrionix in full. Taking the stage (Troy in Calamity Jane-style fringing, Edwards in peach sequins; “how are they still this cool” my BFF shouts into my ear over the opening din), they scatter flowers before launching into ‘End of the World’, the single that arguably gave them their London leg-up over a decade ago.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the following track, the anthemic ‘Baby I Call Hell’ that turns the crowd into an eyeliner-running sweaty mess, the ‘woah-oh-oh’s rolling like waves over a sea of raised hands trying to get a firm grip on this moment. This was the song I remember so vividly from that sweltering Worthy afternoon, and it’s impossible to not feel sentimental.

‘Lies’ is met with rapture, as is the epic Sistrionix closer ‘Six Feet Under’. Yes, it’s raucous, it’s scrappy, and hot damn, it’s LOUD. With the replay done and dusted, the lengthy encore is given over to tracks from the superbly named second album Femijism (‘Smile More’ and ‘Grunge Bond’), and various other bits and rarities. “London, you’re like our second home,” Troy roars, throwing herself into the crowd. The band bow out on barnstormer ‘Royal Jelly’ not before a lot of emotional thank-yous and tributes to the Deap Vally touring/knitting crew who’ve had their backs since the beginning (including Troy’s mum, who we’re told once met Jim Morrison backstage – see, more motherhood badassery). My ears are busted. My soul is a bit broken after all the goodbyes, but wow, what a sh*t-kicking mic drop of a gig.

Thank you for the music, the memories, and inspiring the next generation of girls who want to play really loud. Rock on, Deap Vally. Rock on.

Main image: James Dierx


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