I’m not quite sure when or how I initially came across glitch punks The Death Set, but I do know it was in the mp3 blogosphere era circa 2006/2007ish around the time their first EP, To, was released. By the time 2008’s Negative Thinking was out, they had become a firm mix CD staple for me and I’d put them on every disc I made for someone. Unfortunately during that time of my life I wasn’t able to go to shows a whole lot due to the (very draining) job I had at the time so I never got to see them play. I also admit I kind of lost track of what they were up to after the death of founding member Beau Velasco in 2009, though would periodically revisit the old EPs over the years. Not really having kept track, I definitely was surprised to see a show announced in Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. I sadly couldn’t make that show (for reasons I don’t even remember now) and then…we all know what came next.
Flash forward to late 2021 and shows coming back to being reality. I was beyond excited that the band was not only putting out a new record, How To Tune A Parrot, but was also playing a release show in Brooklyn at Our Wicked Lady. And with one of the best bands on earth, Rebelmatic, to boot? SCHEDULE CLEARED IMMEDIATELY because there was absolutely no way I was going to miss that night. Also on the bill was harsh industrial metal rapper EU10GY (who I had recently heard, but not actually seen, during a shift I was working at one of my venue jobs when he was opening a show there) to make for a really energetic and sonically varied and intense night.
EU10GY kicked things off and is the creative brainchild of Isaac Shane. The project incorporates samples and beats, as well as live guitar, and weaves in samples juxtaposed with Shane’s vocals. He is a passionate and bombastic performer and it was nice to actually see him in action rather than just hearing it from another part of the venue. Rebelmatic hit the middle spot and it dawned on me as they took the stage that this was actually my first time seeing them inside in quite a while since I’d seen and/or played with them several times over the last year but it was always outside at one of their pop up events (they are now at 32 and still going strong. See pics from show 31 by Ellen Qbertplaya).
But the setting makes no difference really – indoors, outdoors – it doesn’t matter because there is never a time where you are going to see these guys at anything less than 200% on stage, they have more energy than just about any other band I can think of. Regular drummer Ramsey Jones was upstate recording with another project, so they were joined on stage by fill in drummer, Ish, who is a member of hardcore band, Fear Is Dead, and he fit in seamlessly with the band despite having the very big shoes of Jones to fill. Firing on every single cylinder, they put on another performance that resonated through the room down to the street below and absolutely won them a slew of new fans in the process.
The Death Set at Our Wicked Lady
I was already having a great night by time The Death Set hit the stage and it only got better from there. They played a lot of songs from the new record of course, but I was also thrilled that they played several of the early classics that I love so much because I wasn’t sure that they would go far back in the catalog. “Around The World,” “Intermission,” and “Negative Thinking,” are among my favorites and they blipped through all of them much to my delight. I was also hoping to hear “Overload Damage,” the opening track of the new album and my new favorite which they hit towards the end of the set. And speaking of high energy performances, lead singer and founding band member Johnny Siera didn’t spare an ounce of it on stage and was on and off the drum kit several times, in and out of the audience, and bopping all over the place with his guitar.
Towards the end of the set the sound tech attempted to tell the band to stop playing and said “one more song” a few times but they played about five more before they finally ended which got no complaint from me or anyone else in the audience. Though to be fair, this may have been less an act of defiance and more that the tech kind of mumbled it into his mic and didn’t project it at all, so it’s entirely possible the band didn’t hear it on stage (I did a double take at first and wasn’t sure the first time in fact) and he didn’t make much of an issue about enforcing it fortunately. After waiting all this time to see them, it would have been a huge bummer for them to get the plug pulled so I’m really glad that didn’t happen.
Slap, slap, slap, pound up, down, snap, we go around the world and do what must be done, negative thinking can ruin your life, in hind site I don’t want to be like the people I liked, In your eye, weapons fly, Don’t even try to feel our size, Wonder why the people cry The motherfuckin’ DeathSet!
Need I say more?
Scroll down to see pics from the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
THE DEATH SET