The last time I was genuinely frightened at a rock concert was when I was a teenager at this old punk rock place near Lawrence, Kansas called The Outhouse. I was there to see a death metal band called Cannibal Corpse. The place was crawling with skinheads in steel-toed Doc Martins that were ready to kick anyone’s ass. Then there was the Trail Of Dead show last night.
Despite being a little frightened by the evening, which was nothing short of stellar, Trail Of Dead put on one of the loudest and most aggressive shows I have ever seen. The energy that they put into their show is insane, and I mean that in the best possible way. Prior to seeing them live, I had only read reviews, so I kind of knew what to expect. Reading about it and witnessing it were two completely different things. I don’t mean to make such a stink about the show part of the concert, because they are an immensely talented bunch of Texans, but their live show is very much a part of appreciating them.
Their new album, Source Tags & Codes is somewhat of a really loud rock opera. I’ll go so far as to say that if art has a sound, this band is channeling it quite well. It’s Sonic Youth meets At The Drive In meets Public Enemy. Trail Of Dead turn out some of the most agro melodic music that I have heard in years. Listen to the opening track, "It Was There That I Saw You," and tell me you don’t hear it.
Conrad and Jason trade off between drums and guitars/vocals. If Jason were any more full of energy, the El Rey Theater could very well have blown up. Actually they damn near tore down the place. Yelling at the top of his lungs while Neil (on bass) thrashed about lending his own vocals on occasion, Jason stood on the monitors and speakers taunting the audience. They wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time, and as far as I could tell, they were.
It was clear that not only are these guys a band, but they are collaborators as well. It all just went so well…until they invited people on stage with them. The crowd was already pretty rough. A few people even jumped off the stage into the crowd, including band members. It was all so moving on many levels. I loved the whole experience. The evening ended with the band destroying everything on stage. Nothing was left, but a trail of dead [instruments]. Beauty in chaos.