Friday, February 25, 2011

Show review: Murder by Death at Subterranean, 2/24

By Matt Ciani

Murder by Death
Not many bands qualify to fall within the category of “Gothic Western” music. Even fewer can do this whilst rallying a crowd into a frenzy the way Adam Turla and co. did last night when Murder By Death played Subterranean.

Starting off their set with tracks from their most recent release, Good Morning, Magpie, the band tore through their 12-song main set with masterful, Johnny Cash-ish ease. Frontman Turla introduced his songs as “ballads about murder and desperation," but despite its inherent grotesqueries, Murder By Death’s off-kilter Southern charm was nothing but a seemingly infinite source of positive energy for their cult-like following.

The audience drank along to songs about “Sweet Kentucky Bourbon” and swayed back and forth like they were onboard a ship at stormy sea.

After about six whiskey songs in a row, Turla’s bandmates took a break, probably for drinks, and Turla played “Shiola” by himself, unless you count the dozens of audience members helping out with every word. This was just be beginning of the band’s six-song encore, which included “Coming Home” and “Spring Break 1899,” both of which were clearly crowd (and band) favorites.

At the end of the night, after 18 booze-soaked songs of bodily harm and inebriation, no one had more fun than the band themselves. Smiles went all around on the stage at Subterranean last night, easily letting everyone in on the party that Murder By Death lives to host.

Good Morning, Magpie is available on Vagrant Records.

Murder By Death setlist: Kentucky Bourbon, As Long As There Is Whiskey In The World, You Don’t Miss Twice (When You’re Shaving With A Knife), Steal Away, Foxglove, the Day, Fuego, Ash, A Masters In Reverse Psychology, ’52 Ford, Sometimes The Line Walks You, Ball And Chain. (Encore Break): Shiola, Brother, Until Morale Improves The Beatings Will Continue, The Organ Grinder, Coming Home, Spring Break 1899.

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