In an age when punk rock style is being appropriated by the likes of Avril Lavigne, few can remember the real days of mosh pits and puking guitarists. Luckily, Australia’s The Death Set feasts on the best of punk rock traditions, while mixing in a dose of modern electronics, hip hop, and plenty of heart.
Originally from Gold Coast, Australia, The Death Set began with the friend duo Beau Velasco and Johnny Sierra. They recorded their first EP, to, in a Sydney warehouse, attracting the attention of the international star-making Ninja Tune label (home of Amon Tobin and Spank Rock). The duo-eventually-turned-trio moved to Brooklyn and Baltimore to record their critically acclaimed debut album, Worldwide.
Their appeal is a no-brainer. The Death Set plays the type of music you can dance and fight to. Their gritty, cathartic rock is laden with the shouty, raucous energy of the Beastie Boys, compounded by distorted electronics and relentless guitars. Mosh pits quickly became the norm during their live shows, and during one of their SXSW sets, Siera famously puked on a fan (and apologized the next day).
But the party came to abrupt halt when guitarist and co-founder Beau Velasco was found dead in his Brooklyn studio, for reasons never disclosed to the press. While grief-stricken, the band decided to move ahead with a sophomore album, Michel Poiccard, featuring help from Spank Rock and Diplo. Some of the songs touched on Beau’s life, without ever halting the punk rock onslaught.
Photo by MTV Iggy