By Jordan Meiland
death drive. From left to right: Evan Weinstein, Raj Mazhar, Danny Eberle. Photo by Eli Barnes.
Dozens of students packed into the Purchase TV studio Tuesday night to witness death drive, a Purchase-based experimental duo, perform.
The event was the first scheduled indoors live music event to happen on campus since You Bite With That [formerly Wallace and the Apes], Playshoes, and Swim Rest played Whitson’s at The Stood on March 7, 2020. And though several concerts have happened outdoors this semester, this show was the first to truly recapture the feeling of intimate live music since last March.
“If you aren’t already wearing ear protection, please do,” Raj Mazhar, one of the two members of death drive, warned as the audience trickled in. “This shit’s loud.”
Heeding his warning, audience members quickly slipped their PTV-provided earplugs in and gave Mazhar a thumbs-up. Mazhar nodded approvingly before assuming his position at a laptop placed in the child seat of a shopping cart next to the drums.
For a moment, everything was silent. Then, Evan Weinstein, the other member of death drive, spoke.
“It’s death drive, bitches,” he announced.
With that, Danny Eberle, a fellow Purchase student and drummer, began his assault on the drumkit as he and the duo tore into their first song. The room became filled with the sounds of strange audio clips, thundering drums, and the occasional feral scream from Weinstein or Mazhar. Even with earplugs, the sound was intense.
As they performed, the audience watched in awe. Unable to move around, due to how tightly-packed-in they were, they nodded along and began taking videos of the performance. From the sound booth, members of PTV watched on, ensuring everything was going accordingly.
The view from the sound booth. Photo by Eli Barnes.
Between songs, as Mazhar and Eberle took a water break, Weinstein grabbed a microphone and delivered a request to the audience:
“Come up here and punch us,” he said. “Like, seriously.”
The audience didn’t react much to his request. They did, however, cheer wildly when Eberle took off his sweat-stained T-shirt and tossed it to the side. Several audience members began wiping their foreheads too as the temperature of the room continued to creep upward.
The set continued on with more strange audio clips and thundering drums. During one song, as Weinstein and Eberle played on, Mazhar pulled a truly bizarre stunt. He grabbed a bag of Haribo Sour Stringers, climbed into the shopping cart, stood in the basket, and began consuming the candies. As he chewed, he looked down to the audience and held the bag out as if to say, “You want some?” Several hands went up and heads nodded, to which he smirked and nodded back. He began tossing pieces of candy into the audience until the bag was empty. When the last piece was gone, he dropped the bag on the ground and danced along to the beat briefly before hopping out of the cart and returning to his laptop.
Raj Mazhar throws candy into the crowd. Video by Jordan Meiland.
The last song of the set, “can u feel it !!!!”, saw the performers go all out on both their instruments and themselves. Mazhar and Weinstein unleashed a barrage of noise as Eberle pounded his drums harder and faster than he had all night. Midway through the song, Weinstein removed his shirt and earplugs and dove to his pedalboard to create even more wild sounds. Mazhar screamed several times into the drum microphone before snatching one of Eberle’s spare drum sticks and smashing it on the cymbals several times. When the song ended, the room erupted with cheers and clapping as the musicians caught their breath.
As the audience filed out of the studio, Mazhar thanked the PTV staff for all that they do and expressed his gratitude to everyone that came. He then took a big drink of water and wiped his face on his now sweat-stained sweater.
Between sets, Weinstein and Eberle put their shirts back on and caught their breath, wiping the sweat from their faces. Then the second audience began filing in and filling the space, eager to hear some live music.
The second set was much like the first, except Weinstein played the first few songs from the seat of the shopping cart. During one song, Eberle began throwing a roll of toilet paper and a slinky around his area. He did this several times before throwing both at the audience and playing on. Mazhar did his candy-throwing routine again and the set ended with another all-out assault on the instruments and themselves. Impressively, the band didn’t seem less energized during this set, which said a lot about their endurance as musicians.
From left: Evan Weinstein and Raj Mazhar. Photo by Eli Barnes.
death drive’s performance was everything a concert-craving Purchase student could’ve asked for after months of no live performances. Ear-destroying volume? Check. Sweat-inducing heat? Check. Wild music and antics? Check.
Fun and memorable?