Australian punk rockers DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats headlined a sold-out crowd at Ottawa’s House of TARG on November 25th.
I showed up at TARG half an hour before doors opened, greeted by the venue’s trademark flashing sign and sunglass-wearing skeleton. With time to kill before tickets went on-sale, I bought a handful of loonies and started to work my way through the row of pinball machines that lined the wall.
(Out of the five machines I sampled – The Who, Metallica, Terminator 2, KISS, and the Walking Dead – I conclusively determined that the Metallica machine was by far the best, due in no small part to the “Electric Chair” effect).
Music kicked off at ten o’clock with local hardcore trio Coveter, who supplied about an hour of distortion and heavy metal riffs to get the crowd into the headbanging mood.
After a short break, DZ Deathrays hit the stage for a set of jaggedly infectious dance-punk. It was their first time playing Ottawa since Bluesfest in July, and the Australian duo absolutely killed it.
(Their best song of the night, in my opinion, was their Black Rat single “Reflective Skull,” which opens with a glorious power-pop highlighter-streak of a riff).
The audience demanded (and received) an encore, before Dune Rats closed off the night with a set of irreverent punk party anthems, incitements to mosh, and out-of-left-field Violent Femmes and Billy Idol covers.
Both bands are far heavier live than they are on record, and share a similar live-wire energy and aversion to slowing down the show with banter.
Line-up: Coveter / DZ Deathrays / Dune Rats
Venue: House of TARG, 1077 Bank St., Ottawa
Date: Nov. 25/2016, 10:00 PM