Monday saw the release of Death and the Penguin’s debut EP Accidents Happen followed by their launch gig on Tuesday, and what a launch it was. Held in The Islington, a small pub in Angel, North London, the room was stuffy with early summer heat. The night kicked off with great sets from support acts Dead Red Sun and Quadrilles, who share DatP’s slightly more experimental nature. Surrounded by DatP’s family, friends and colleagues (from the day jobs) myself and Fen did feel a little out of place but it was lovely to see them supported at such an important moment by the people who helped them get there.
The lads ‘costume’ choice was interesting, considering they get compared to the likes of Funeral for a Friend and QOTSA, their dress sense is anything but. Decked out in skinny trews, shirts and bow ties they did look rather dapper, if not slightly hipster. Opening with ‘Eine Kleine Granatemusik’ (Mozart don’t y’know) the guys swiftly moved on to opening track on the album ‘Snuffed Out’, heavy bass to match the stuffy summer air. Following on they moved to track ‘Space 1998’ and being so amazing they shorted the circuit and the power went out. Although a temporary issue they rode it out well, making banter and offering to finish the gig acoustically if anyone had the equipment to hand.
Next came what has to be my favourite song from the EP ‘Bitumen’, influenced by blues and chain gangs from the deep south, this track has a haunting sound. The vocal drones accompanied by the percussion create a tense and expectant atmosphere when played live. I was wondering what this track would sound like live as much of the song sounds as if it could have been pulled off with some creative production, however I was pleasantly surprised that it is all done live.
The pace was slowed with following track ‘An Opening’ before ramping everything up again with ‘Strange Times’. Sadly we didn’t get their version of ‘The Words that Maketh Murder’ by PJ Harvey but we were rewarded with slightly newer track ‘We Are The Dead’. A tamer track for DatP who are now looking to evolve their sound a bit more, knowing they do up tempo and in your face so well they’re exploring their softer side. It was beautiful and I can’t wait for the recording.
Although short and small (we really wanted more) it was a great gig. It was evident that everyone there was supremely proud of the lads and their debut EP. We even met Tobias’ dad who was taking pictures throughout and helped us get them to sign my copy of the novel that is their namesake. It was great to meet them and seeing them live made it clear how much they’ve put into this record and how much they love what they do, especially considering that Tobias was up for a job interview first thing next morning.