Deafheaven (Photo: Zack Frederick)Deafheaven (Photo: Zack Frederick)

The line to get into Deafheaven and WOVE’s Converse Rubber Tracks Live gig at The Chapel on Wednesday night stretched down the block. The buzz in the crowd was palpable, and deservedly so – Deafheaven has done its best to bring black metal to the masses since the release of their 2013 album Sunbather, and now they were coming home* for the first of five shows for Chuck Taylor-manufacturer’s live music series, a show that was free and sold out.

And Deafheaven didn’t disappoint, proving that almost two straight years on the road hasn’t dulled the sharp edge of their incredible live show, with Clarke acting as conductor of both the band and the audience, stirring the crowd into a frenzy throughout the nearly one-hour set. Most of the setlist sourced from Sunbather, but a notable exception was “From the Kettle Onto the Coil”, which received a relatively lengthy introduction from Clarke, who’s not really one for stage banter, preferring his audience interaction to be decidedly more physical. The frontman, who was by then missing his trademark black gloves, noted it was a new song, jokingly swore off playing anything from Sunbather (I believe the quote was, “Fuck this Sunbather shit.”), and then confirmed that this run of Converse shows would be Deafheaven’s last before they return to the studio to record the follow-up to their 2013 breakthrough. Although the track required a restart after an audience member got a bit carried away and unplugged a pedal board, the track has clearly found a home in the band’s set.

They closed the evening with a terrifyingly intense version of “Unrequited” off their 2011 debut Roads to Judah, before releasing their adoring fans back out onto the streets of the Mission, exhausted from the group catharsis – no, the group therapy session that is a Deafheaven show.

WOVE – the brand spanking new two-piece featuring singer/guitarist Nate Mercereau and drummer Brent Jasperse, both formerly of the now defunct A Million Billion Dying Suns – kicked the evening off with a ripping set of psychedelic mayhem featuring a beautiful wall of fuzz courtesy of Mercereau and his array of pedals.

*Well, sort of – word on the street is that George Clarke and Kerry McCoy now live primarily in Los Angeles.