Concert Review: … And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, November 20, Lee’s Palace

You were fair and fey as a sun that evil day
We were bold and life was great
But as time went on
I wondered what was wrong
I wondered what became of you

The above lyrics come from “It Was There That I Saw You,” a classic track off of …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead’s 2002 album Source Tags And Codes. They didn’t play that song at their Lee’s Palace show, but the lyrics were going through my head in the hours before the show, not just because there was a period when that album came out that I listened to it almost daily, but because in a way, I sort of felt that those lyrics applied to my relationship with the band. I did indeed wonder what was wrong and what became of them. Which really says more about me than about the band. They’ve continued on doing what they do and they do it well. But in all honesty, I really haven’t given their last couple of albums much time. Their latest, Lost Songs, is a good album, but having given it a listen (and yes, admittedly only one) I wasn’t blown away by it. I thought maybe I was over the band. Then I saw them live again and was reminded of why I liked them in the first place.

On record, Trail Of Dead are impressive, but live they’re a formidable force, full of huge amounts of energy and operating as almost a sort of controlled chaos, mostly in the form of vocalist/guitarist/drummer Jason Reece and bassist Autry Fulbright II. Reece, of course, is known for his stage antics and did not disappoint, wading into the crowd by the third song of the set. Not to be outdone, Fulbright took his bass into the crowd on two separate occasions and also contorted himself into various positions while still playing along. He also offered up the odd non sequitur as stage banter, such as, “Hello, Los Angeles, California. Thank you for coming out for the 20th anniversary of our self-titled debut Rage Against The Machine.” Odd, but definite evidence that he was enjoying himself.

Trail Of Dead are not a band that I can imagine half assing it. So dedicated are they to rocking out that vocalist/guitarist Conrad Keely played much of the set with a broken string. I guess it wasn’t one of the important ones. In the end, there was no real reason for me to ever have doubts. I should have known all along that the band would put on an intense live performance. I suppose I’ll be giving that new album another listen. And if it still doesn’t grab me, well then I’ll be there regardless next time they come through town, ready to be blown away.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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