Saturday, October 17, 2009

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead at the Henry Fonda Theatre


...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead released one of my favorite albums in 2002 entitled Source Tags & Codes. It was raw, unhinged and chaotic. I remember seeing them open for Queens of The Stone Age at the Hollywood Palladium along with Peaches.

If my memory serves correct, Conrad Keely (Vocals/Guitars) handed a guitar to a kid in the front row because it wasn't working properly. I decided to check in on Trail of the Dead who are touring support of their new album The Century of Self.

Future of the Left

Future of the Left rocked. I had heard some positive buzz regarding their new album Travels With Myself and Another and was very interested in checking out their set. Andrew Falkous (Vocals/Guitar) immediately impressed with his battered Ephiphone SG guitar hammering out raucous maze crazed riffs.

Kelson Louis Matthias (Bass) and Jack Egglestone (Drums) formed the interlocked rhythm section that pushed and pulled their oblique tunes in various directions. "Arming Eritrea" has a deceiving light coat of fingerpicked guitars before moving into a hybrid of Death From Above 1979 and AC/DC rock territory. "Chin Music" was a good blueprint for their formulaic songs in that it repeatedly punches you in the face for barely two minutes.

Future of the Left dipped back to their first album Curses for another two minute blazer "Wrigley Scott". "Small Bones and Small Bodies" came off like a nervous caffeine induced rant that also stretched into the two and a half minute mark. Since our relative attention spans have decreased, the Future of The Left may be on to something with a majority of their songs coming in at three minutes or less.

The Roland Juno keyboard finally made its way into the set with "Manchasm" and its chirpy notes underpinned by a heavily distorted bass line and its screamed lyrics. "Land of My Formers" had Andrew step on his Electro Harmonix Micro POG pedal for some alien distortion which inspired some moshing in front of the stage. Their set ended in true rock fashion with Kelson jumping down and handing his bass to a patron while he surfed the crowd. Opening bands need to take notes from Future of the Left. Rock quickly and loudly as possible.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of the Dead

The haunting piano notes of "Invocation" served as a fitting introduction for ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead. Conrad Keely proceeded to chug away on his Les Paul the opening chords of "Will You Smile Again?" viciously propelled by the double drumming of Jason Reece and Aaron Ford. There were a lot of moving people on stage to try and capture. It was a lot to process on the visual and auditory level.

Conrad's interest in Egyptian mythology was displayed when they tore into "Isis Unveiled". The flashbacks from 2002 came when Jason Reece (Drums/Vocals) jumped up from his drum kit and spewed out the call to arms urgency of "Days of Being Wild". It sounded just as good as I remembered it with Jason looking unhinged as he sang.

Trail of the Dead quickly shifted gears with the more rock orchestral sounding "Bells of Creation" from their latest album The Century of Self . The dark and moody detuned madness of "How Near,How Far" pumped up the energy level with its machine gun drum rolls. Jay Phillips (Bass) was frequently smashing his bass with his fist and pointing it straight up in the air. Trail of the Dead was operating as a finely tuned war machine.

"It Was There I Saw You" was another benefactor of the double drumming drubbing dispensed to the crowd. Trail of the Dead's album World's Apart seemed to be widely overlooked but in the live setting tracks like "Caterwaul" still pack a punch. Trail of the Dead closed out their main set with "Clair de Lune" and "Totally Natural"

"Another Morning Stoner" made a great encore opener with its winding guitar riff and sea of smashing cymbals. "Mistakes and Regrets" typifies what I deem as a classic Trail of the Dead song with Conrad belting out the lyrics. "A Perfect Teenhood" served as a perfect closer to the evening with it in your face attitude and a majority of audience members throwing up their middle finger to punctuate the lyrics of the song. Safe to say it was a good night of rock.

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