I’ve told people the last time I saw … Trail of Dead was in 2002, shortly after the release of Source Code & Tags. I forgot I saw them earlier this year at SXSW. That show was not only truncated but relatively subdued.
I didn’t know whether last night’s show at Emo’s would be a repeat of SXSW. I should not have been such a doubting Thomas.
Let me just note right away there was no destruction of the stage at the end of the show. I must be getting older because I was not disappointed when that didn’t happen. Regardless, the … Trail of Dead guys still tore through their set.
The first half of the concert focused mostly on stuff from Source Code & Tags. I was a bit concerned because it seemed like the band was offering up all the prime material up front. What would be left for the rest of the show?
Just as that question popped into my head, the band switched its focus to material from its latest album, So Divided. That album is something of a studio creation, and translating it live would risk losing something. But when Jason Reece started pounding out the Polynesian rhythms of "Wasted State of Mind", it was clear the guys’ performance ethic would win out.
By the way, "Eight Day Hell" is one of the most distinct songs in the … Trail of Dead canon. It’s so fucking sunny and infectiously singable, it has the great potential to be an annoying ear worm. Thanks a lot, guys.
As the show progressed, the ambitious older material from Madonna surfaced, and the band got its noise on. Madonna contains some of … Trail of Dead’s most ferocious writing, and they shoveled that ferocity to the audience in spades. By the end, Conrad Keeley was doing windmill guitars while the audience screamed "Fuck you!" at the conclusion of "A Perfect Teenhood". Nice.
The set lasted slightly more than hour, finishing up at 1 a.m. But it was a thoroughly enjoyable and intense hour.