….And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Deaf? WHAT? SORRY? I CAN’T FOOKIN’ HEAR YA, MATE!
So, Austin, Texas guitar murderers And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead popped by Vancouver’s newest restaurant/club Electric Owl to slay the smallish but ready-to-thrash crowd.
Mentioning that their first track “Strange News from Another Planet” was pretty much gonna be their 16+-minute soundcheck, Conrad Keeley and Jason Reece unleashed a wall of radio-friendly-ear-bleeders as drummer (at least for most of show; Reece did hop on for a coupla including “It Was There That I Saw You”) Jamie Miller throttled his kit, arms aloft and curving sticks over his head. Audience necks nodded at warp speed. Earplugs were pushed further into ears. Best tracks? “Will You Smile Again” and “Caterwaul” for def sure. WIN for fans of bands with long names.
Meanwhile… the best surprise? Austin, Texas opener Ringo Deathstarr. (With Okkervil River the night before, is every Austin band in town this week?)
Taking a distortion pedal-shaped Fuzzbox T.A.R.D.I.S. back to 1992 when dinosaur gods Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine roamed the earth, these three kids (Alex – a girl – Elliott and Daniel – boys) channeled aggressive shoegaze (and a bit o’ Goth) in a way I haven’t seen since, erm, when I was an aggressive shoegazer. With sometimes model Alex Gehring softening out the drone in a kinda Primitives/Slowdive way, the band did take a wee while to warm up but then unraveled into a quite marvellous sound.
Best bit? Elliott throwing himself into the still-opening-act-sized thin audience, then giving a beer to the girl he sorta accidentally shoved, and having her return it to him… then handing over his guitar to a mega fan who proceeded to play the rest of the track from the floor, while Elliott finished his beer on stage. I dug these three so much that I invited Alex and the band over if they needed a place to crash- “We’re sooo tired,” she said, washing her face in the women’s bathroom, “from sleeping in the van” – next time they’re in town. Maternal rock instincts, or something. Anyway, check ’em out. I’m currently digging all the tracks that their label Club AC30 has uploaded to its YouTube page.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to soothe my ears with some Baroque classical music. Might even have a nap. \m/
All photos by Richard Amies