Thursday, 23 April 2009

Live: And You Will Know Us By the Trail Of Dead in Manchester

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead...
Manchester Academy 3
April 16th

“God bless Conrad Keeley” reads a text on our mobile minutes after the gig. The And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead front man hasn’t aged a bit since his band’s visceral breakthrough in the mid-90s, and almost 15 years on, he’s leading punk-rock brothers to nightly mass. Tonight Trail of Dead are on fire, catapulting a noisy, rattling hour of new and old tunes. They may look like a bunch of down and outs, but the six piece are still one of the most important touring rock groups alive today.

As expected, new album The Century of Self is well represented and there’s a healthy number of classic Trail of Dead stomps thrown out along the way. New songs are performed with vitality and immediacy; ‘Far Pavillions’ is heavy, druggy psych-rock, ‘Isis Unveiled’ is rocket fuelled punk; Keeley barks cult leader words over post-rock guitars and hell raising instrumentation in a frantic, incendiary outro. Proggy, other worldly lyrics continue to be explored, but with there’s a fresh musical agenda for Trail of Dead these days.

Re-energised after ditching their un-supportive major label, golden oldies ‘Mistakes and Regrets’ and ‘It Was There That I Saw You’ are played with much verve; breathing new fire into their genre-defining bones.

The transformation from the stressed, bored men this writer observed at the same venue two years ago is a revelation. Great to have you back, Trail of Dead.

Written originally for Clash Music. Props to Coterie Music Blog for the Trail of Dead image.

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