LIVE REVIEW: deep tan, NOVYI LEF @ Zerox, Newcastle (20.05.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

It’s a Friday night in Newcastle and we’re nodding along to dystopic synth-punk about brutalism and the labour market in Zerox’s graffitied, neon attic on the Quayside. It’s ideal. I hadn’t even realised there was a support act for deep tan’s gig so this is already beating expectations. Even better, they’re using xylophones and agogos overlaid with screaming that sounds like Ian Curtis. Dressed in matching red boiler suits and harnesses, NOVYI LEF look like an industrialised Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark. It’s an electrifying performance, made even better when someone informs me that off-stage they’re really reserved and work in an art gallery.

Waiting for deep tan’s emergence I scout out the crowd. There’s about 80 of us up here. Everyone looks a bit New Age-y, which fits given deep tan’s experimental, post-industrial aesthetic. 

The first thing that vocalist, Wafah Dufour says is “come closer guys, closer”. We obey – shuffling forward as they launch into their idiosyncratic spidery bass-lines and creeping crescendos. It’s tight and sharp and I automatically start jolting in-sync with the marching drums. Tracks like deep fake and do you ever ascend are personal highlights. Wafah seductively switches from French to English – her voice is eerily hypnotic, dancing over grittier guitar work. Celeste is at one with the bass. This kind of music is best seen and felt live. Even if they don’t smile much, there’s a whimsical sarcasm to deep tan that suggests they don’t take themselves too seriously.

A lot of people see the post-punk sound as angry, male and intimidating. But, nodding under pink neon lights to deep tan’s songs about Rudy Giuliani, meme pages and furries, I’m reassured that this is far from the case. Yes, deep tan are dark and brooding, but they’re full of colour too.  

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout