Review: Dehd and Deeper “In the Round” at Thalia Hall

Emily Kempf at the Metro earlier this year. Photo by Julian Ramirez

Ask any Chicagoan; we’re obsessed with this city. As someone who’s lived here my whole life (okay, okay, I did grow up in the suburbs), I can attest to the fact that Chicagoans are equally obsessed with their local music scene. That’s why an evening of a local Fire Talk Records showcase was so special, featuring Deeper and the headlining act Dehd.

The first act I got a chance to see was Deeper. I’ve seen them a few times, but each time, my affinity grows stronger, as does their on-stage presence. The band emerged confident, with thrashing guitar instrumentation and booming vocals. With an “in the round” approach at Thalia Hall, shows become more intimate as the band circles around the center of the main floor, with fans at every angle. Fresh off the heels of releasing two new songs, including a standout cover of John Maus’ “Bennington,” the group is poised to continue their indie-rock reign in the Chicago music scene. Singer Nic Gohl is able to augment his voice in such unique ways, following the fuzzy noise building with each song. And they didn’t disappoint their loyal legion of Chicago fans as they continue to stake their claim in Chicago’s music scene.

It surely felt like I was watching two headlining acts. The second of which, Dehd, brought a powerhouse set to much-elated fans. They largely stuck to jangly, unmistakable tunes off their May 2019 release Water. With each catchy tune comes thoughtful lyrics, like “Lucky to have / People in my life / With the power to break my heart.” And that’s one reason why the house was completely packed. They also bring with them their authentic selves; from pausing to turn up levels and restart to get everything just right to badass songstress Emily Kempf jumping onto an amp mid-song, they’re unapologetic and real. And they sounded pristine. With members hailing from several other bands in the Chicago DIY community–NE-HI (RIP) and Lala Lala among them–they’ve managed to forge a unique sound that’s distinct and all their own. And that’s something that’s worth sticking around till the end of the night for, every time.

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a native Chicagoan with a penchant for words, music, art and this magnificent city of Chicago. Raised on The Beatles and learning the violin at age 9, Sarah’s passion for music began early in life. Her musical obsessions include Wilco, Otis Redding, Neko Case and Real Estate, but they truly change daily. She can be found at a concert, trying a new restaurant, or running along the lakefront path.