“HOLY SHIT I LOVE THIS SONG!” said the guy next to me from under his flat-bill Dodgers hat and black hoodie while simultaneously wrapping his arm around my shoulder and jumping up and down in place. These types of giddy, bromance moments probably played out close to (just a guess) 400 times throughout …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead’s album release and art show on Tuesday night.
The beginning of the event was an art show for lead singer Conrad Keely’s drawings, which were all posted on the walls in the lobby/gallery space at the front of the venue. The art was appreciated, people walked by and nodded at the psychedelic portrayals of otherworldly beings, however, most of the focus in this room was on the cheap booze. While most people were checking out the liquor situation, Brooklyn-based band Takka Takka strolled through a set that was genuinely modest while still interesting. I missed most of the performance, but, I can say the lead guitarist does a fantastic job incorporating his array of different fuzz, delay and reverb pedals, combining all of the to create some sounds that I have never heard before.
The room filled quickly while Trail Of Dead’s gear was being assembled onstage. The band took the stage very quickly in a less than dramatic fashion and the members picked up their instruments and said hello to the audience. This appeared to be pretty standard for me, however, the crowd thought it was beyond awesome. Random screams of gratitude and approval were hurled at the four members and they situated themselves behind their instruments. My perception of the four band members as being mild-mannered gentlemen was immediately squashed as the band erupted into a blast of screaming energy and adrenaline-fueled hopping around the stage. High fives were thrown everywhere from guys in the audience after the first song.
The band members started switching instruments in between almost every song. Keely went to the drums for one. From there the main drummer and lead guitarist Jason Reece changed on and off. Other things caused the show to slow down like retuning for guitars, fixing broken strings or needed explanations for songs. The crowd never seamed to mind, in fact, it appeared to be more and more interested as the pauses between songs got longer and longer, always responding to the band’s jokes with vocal approval.
During one of Keely’s tuning breaks, he announced meekly that he was sorry. The band would not be allowed to play any of the new material from the upcoming album due to a lawsuit with a band that has a similar name. When he first announced this, I figured that this would turn the room’s mood from ecstatic to sour. I mean, this was supposed to be a CD release party. No one got mad though, in fact everyone seemed fine. It was almost like asking your friend to borrow five dollars, him agreeing, checking his wallet and then apologizing because he doesn’t have the money to lend. The band was your friend unable to lend you money; of course you can’t get mad at them. I don’t know what Trail Of Dead has done right, but the band has created a certain energy amongst its fans that all bands dream of. The people in the crowd had an undying love for every song the band pulled out and absolute acceptance for every fault that was noticed.
The set wrapped up with the essential encore. When Keely returned to the stage, he said that the people in the crowd were going have to keep their mouths shut because they were going to secretly play a song off the album that wasn’t supposed to be played. The crowed agreed—almost 20 people yelled, “We won’t tell!” or other things along those lines.