dEUS + Eastern Conference Champions @ Main Hall

By Jordan-na Belle-Isle - Canadian Invasion - 03/25/2006

After a five-year hiatus, dEUS is back with a new album (Pocket Revolution) and a new label (V2). Popular in Europe during the nineties, members of the Belgium band took time off to pursue side projects, which usually indicate the demise of a band. Yet their show in Montreal proved the contrary. Although dEUS had been gone, they were certainly not forgotten by their faithful following nor had forgotten how to put on a great show.

Main Hall was packed with an audience older than the club’s normal demographic of fashionably late twentysomething hipsters. On the contrary, dEUS fans are the sort of folk who show up to a concert at the time indicated. Having been a victim of notoriously tardy start times at Main Hall, I arrived forty-five minutes late but only caught the last half of openers Eastern Conference Champions. The American trio played their fuzzy, fun music to a sea of middle-agers looking to relive their days of rock. Each song was intro’d with a sound sample and then kicked into raspy rock, building an impressively solid wall of sound. They easily won over the crowd and their great, upbeat energy was the perfect warm-up for the headliners.

During the intermission, Main Hall buzzed with anticipation. The button downs and khakis were more than ready for dEUS and the moment the band took the stage, the crowd exploded into dance and noise. It was refreshing to see an audience so demonstrative in their appreciation of the music. dEUS took it slow at first, starting with a sultry opening bass line, eventually launching into a more upbeat number. They displayed a diverse range of influences in their music, from hard-rocking tunes to sexy guitar ballads. They built complex yet seamless songs which borrowed elements from other genres, throwing them into a rocking mix of sound. As a band, they are tight, performing with the finesse of a veteran rock band, which was also apparent in their stage presence. They have a bottled, restrained intensity which is key -- keep your cool on stage and let your audience go wild. It builds an air of mystery and keeps that slight but necessary gap between performer and audience. They are present without being completely attainable. They know when to hold back and when to give in.

The nice thing about the dEUS show is it did not reek of a money-grabbing “reunion” tour, grabbing the cash dollar of middle-aged fans who might want an acid trip down memory lane. dEUS is in fine form, exhibiting all the nuances of a big stadium band in a more intimate venue. Hopefully they will keep this up and any other time-off periods will be kept to a bare minimum.

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