Live Review: Dead Letter Circus @ UniBar, Adelaide, Australia. Mar16


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Live Review: Dead Letter Circus @ UniBar, Adelaide, Australia.


Live Review: Dead Letter Circus @ UniBar, Adelaide, Australia.

Review – Craig Grant.

Parking in Adelaide is horrendous as we have the Festival, the Fringe and, the celebration of world music, WomAdelaide, all on at the same time. I get to my old stomping ground at the UniBar all set for the tenth anniversary celebration for Dead Letter Circus. The UniBar is a unique venue, looking largely like a tunnel with the band at one end and the mixing desk over the horizon at the other end. The stage always reminds me of the one from Blues Brother, just minus the chicken mesh. Along one length of the room is the bar with the other side being a balcony obviously designed for an Eastern European dictator. Many a night have we scooted across the room from bar to balcony while some band cranks it out.

Tonight Dead Letter Circus is here to indulge in the past and celebrate the initial release with an acoustic set and the songs reimagined. The band is augmented with a string section and a keyboard player. There is also enough tech on stage that it’s hard to believe that this is an acoustic gig! We start the night with two songs from the, ‘This is the Warning’, album and its takes a while to adjust to the sound. It’s comfortable, relaxed and there is plenty of nuance in these songs that make them fresh again though we’ve heard them many times over the years. The audience is up for it though and the night has a very different feel from other DLC gigs.

By the time we get to Lodestar, from the commercially successful, ‘The Catalyst Fire’, it’s apparent that nothing sounds the same. Sure it’s the same lyrics but the harmony and pace is completely different. By advertising this gig as the songs reimagined, the band has certainly achieved this. Lodestar was a standout on this album but it is like listening to a different track tonight. It’s no bad thing thought and, although it would be easy for the band to continually play the same songs the same way, the reason we enjoy DLC is because they take risks.

The night continues with a complete run through of the first EP/Album – I was never sure what it was. Again, after ten years of having this on regular play, it sounds different and clearly to some of the audience it’s a challenge. I’m among the majority that finds it fresh and as captivating as when we first heard it ten years ago.

Just when we thought the night was complete we get Silence, a song from the 2015 album, which wasn’t played – well wasn’t played in London and Glasgow on the European tour – but is worthy of any set. We finish John Farnham’s The Voice and the audience take over. The unofficial Australian national anthem closes the night on what has been an excellent gig. It’s easy to write reviews when bands knock out material that you are familiar with and it’s a carbon copy of the record. Tonight wasn’t that but when you know the material it’s good to hear a variation on it because it tells us that the band are always looking for new ways to reimagine well-known songs. Great night, in good company with a band at the top of their game.

Setlist on the night.

Here We Divide

The Space on the Wall

While You Wait

I Am


The Veil


One Step

The Mile


Disconnect and Apply

Are We Closer

This Life Awake



You’re the Voice



Dead Letter Circus

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