defeater live review

“The Blues Got Me” | Defeater Live Review w/ Four Year Strong, Elder Brother, Superheaven | The Social, Orlando, FL |September 25, 2015

by • October 9, 2015

Alright, so its 4 pm, and I’m knee deep in caustic water and peracetic acid. I’m disheveled as fuck and almost done with my brew day at Ten10 Brewing co. I get a call from my boys whom I’m meeting up with later for the show and they lay it on me: The dudes from Defeater are playing a free acoustic set at Park Ave CD’s at 5:30 pm. Obviously, I go into furious cleaning frenzy as to not much miss out on Derek Archambault’s voice that sounds like a thousand precious angels. I hurry the fuck up, slam a beer, and head home to shower and change. I have 10 minutes to make it there or miss out on their righteous audible chocolate, and I’ll be damned if I don’t satiate this sweet tooth of mine.

I pull up and it’s frighteningly empty. No lines. No noise. What’s going on? I walk in and there’s a small crowd gathered near the stage set up at the far left of the shop. The band is nowhere in sight. Did I miss it? My friends show up and we begin what is going to become a grueling testament to our patience. The onset of this unforgiving Floridian Fall season held the band up on their way down here. It’s 5:45 p.m. Fuck you, rain. It’s 6:15. It’s 6:45. The doors are at 7. Shit. We walk out, and as we do, we see them pull up. Okay … We’ll stay for a couple. Derek, apologetic, sets up and begins playing. He didn’t disappoint. Him and their guitarist Jake both did two separate cover sets before playing a few originals together.

We get to The Social in time to catch the back end of Elder Brother. One dude, one guitar, and whole lot of self-depreciation. This is right up my alley. The rest of his band mates couldn’t make it for the tour. He’s flying solo, and he’s killing it. He’s halfway to City and Colour except I didn’t feel like crying for forty minutes after he finished. A great, mellow way to start off what’s going to ultimately be a riot of a show.

The crowd grew denser as Superheaven took the stage. On looks alone you would say these guys were slightly out of place. The second they started playing, I was thrown off by both their sound and how good it was. Absolutely nothing like the next two bands, this is like if grunge warmly embraced sludge and then took a bath. It was like all the good parts of Pearl Jam without the frustration that comes with having to listen to Pearl Jam. Long unkept hair, chuggy bass riffs, and a vocal range that would put even the most seasoned of chain-smokers to shame. This is rad. Is grunge really dead?

I’ve managed to catch Defeater pretty much every time they’ve come to Florida over the last five years and I’ve never been disappointed. From the second they started the set, it was pure chaos in the pit.Β Dozens of men and women, arms raised in anticipation, chanting in unison, crashing on each other against the stage like eager waves waiting to break. They played the spectrum, all the hits from every album. It’s the perfect mixture of melodic and mayhem, heartfelt and guttural. I will never get sick of these dudes.Β 

It’s the last song of the set. Standing before a sea of battered, and relatively intoxicated individuals, Derek says four words: “I’ve got the blues.” It’s a call to arms and everyone answers. The crowd lurches in every direction. If you were in the pit, you weren’t getting out now. You’re a prisoner to the ebb and the flow for approximately four more intense (and fucking rad) minutes. And just like that, it’s over. The war is done and they’re breaking down gear. The only bummer about a Defeater set is that it eventually has to end. Now I’ve got the blues, and the blues got me.

I’m wandering The Social lone-wolf style for a few minutes between sets. It’s weird how the smell of stale beer and pools of sweat remind you of home … or more so the places that you made your home. Do you remember your first show? Nostalgia hits me hard and I’m KO’d the first round. I never really got into Four Year Strong, but I’m stoked that I had a chance to be here. I’m glad I stayed. These guys are performers through and through.

Even their sound check was some weird bizarro world theatrical event you’d see in a shitty Hollywood movie. The kind some drunk and lonely middle-aged man writes about even though he has no children and hasn’t hung out with anyone under the age of 38 in years. Well… there’s two dudes in skin tight, zebra print onesies prancing around the stage checking instruments for the band. They match the zebra print back-drop. They’re jokingly trying to camouflage themselves. What the fuck is going on? Suddenly the crowd comes back to life. Theres chanting. There’s cheering. I see one chick so excited she looks like she’s about a puke. Within seconds it’s a manic maelstrom of flailing limbs. Highschool Me would’ve been all about this. It reminds me of my youth. I appreciate this. I may never be a die-hard fan, but I can’t deny that these guys know how entertain.

DefeaterΒ Live Review by Horus Anderson, edited by Matthew Weller.


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