|...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Maybeshewill - York, Fibbers - 14th October 2012|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Thursday, 25 October 2012 04:00|
It's a funny thing, I was given an MP3 disc in 2005 with a bunch of albums on it, one of those happened to be 'Worlds Apart' by ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead; I had heard some of their earlier songs and to be honest they didn't do much for me at the time. I never listened to this album...big mistake on my part. Fast forward to a few months ago and after seeing they were playing Fibbers, and reading constant recommendations recently from Ginger Wildheart about them, especially the 'So Divided' album, I thought I would give them another go. Little did I realise what I had been missing all these years, 'So Divided' blew me away and I listened to 'Worlds Apart' instantly loved it and kicked myself for not listening to it back then. These two albums and last year's epic and sprawling 'Tao Of The Dead' have been on constant play in my house since and they are pretty much my new favourite band right now. There are not enough hours in the day for me to get into their full back catalogue before the gig at Fibbers. So with a good live reputation to live up to, and a new album to promote, I head out with high expectations from Trail Of Dead and hope they will light up this dreary Sunday evening in York.
Walking in at the tail end of the support band's set, I am surprised that Fibbers is already pretty full tonight. It's a good sign that people will venture out in recession hit Britain on a rainy Sunday evening to see some quality live music rather than take the easy option and stare at their TV or computer screen. Although an instrumental band, Leicestershire five piece Maybeshewill are a ball of jumping energy that mix up what sounds like film dialogue with their music, energetic and interesting indeed, they may well be ones to watch out for again.
As the four silhouettes that make up Trail Of The Dead appear through the dry ice onto the darkened stage to the sounds of intro 'Ode To Isis', it's a joy to me that 'Worlds Apart' is represented from the off with its first three tracks in quick succession. Leading straight into the now familiar opening chords and regimental drums of 'Will You Smile Again?' with its haunting verse and powerful build up it's a simply stunning start. The upbeat and anthemic 'Worlds Apart' follows, with its great sing-a-long chorus making it an instant highlight it's clear this is going to be a good night. First impressions last?...yes indeed they do.
A couple of new tracks from the imminent 8th album 'Lost Songs' follow, the punky, surging rush of 'Pinhole Camera' and 'Up To Infinity' promise much to look forward to from the new album before guitarist Jason Reece swaps places with drummer Jamie Miller for 'Mistakes & Regrets', the first of many songs that sees the two trade instruments. It must be said both are powerful, rock solid drummers and each hold their own, and it's a refreshing thing to see.
Mid-set highlight for me is the brilliant and anthemic 'Caterwaul', another 'Worlds Apart' goodie with Jason on vocals. It's the one song I was really hoping they would play tonight, it just seems a perfect slice of fist-clenching, raging beauty to make you sweat, smile and sing all at the same time and it doesn't disappoint, it's a song that gets everyone bouncing and singing as one.
The band are energetic and animated throughout, with Jason windmilling and jumping like Pete Townsend at his peak, and bassist Autry Fulbright II arching his back and pointing his bass to the ceiling, taking charge of a bottle of Jack Daniels, he swigs and passes it between the band members before Conrad passes it over to the audience to finish off. It's singer/guitarist Conrad Keely who is the focal point for much of the gig, he stares out the crowd, smiles and he closes his eyes and plays, lost in the music, seemingly oblivious to the world around him at times. Every now and then he will catch someone's eye and grin, he projects a very cool aura throughout.
The guitar tech certainly earns his wage, guitars are changed regularly as certain songs call for different tunings. But that's not the only reason for constant changes, Conrad breaks strings, a lot of strings, hell, he even broke an A string tonight. Breaking that string at the beginning of a song the guitar tech frantically readies a guitar and taps him on the shoulder, Conrad just smiles, nods in acknowledgement and continues to play, as if such a thing as a broken string was going to stop this man mid-song.
The coupling of 'Spiral Jetty' and 'Weight Of The Sun' from last year's 'Tao Of The Dead' follow and fit beautifully out of the context of the album, and sandwiched between the hardcore noise of two older tracks, they are the ones that stand out for me.
This is pure, raw and intense music, primal and punky in attitude and delivery tonight, and frankly the energy levels proceed to increase as they play a fine selection of their back catalogue and I understand why this band have such a formidable live reputation.
They are well known for trashing their gear on stage and sadly there is none of that tonight, but as the dying notes of final encore 'Another Morning Stoner' ring in my ears I am left with the feeling that this has been one of the best gigs I have seen all year. Utterly compelling to watch and a joy to listen to, Trail Of Dead take no prisoners and tonight was a triumphant blast of live energy. Miss them and you will miss out.