Murder by Death
March 25th, 2016
Murder by Death are currently in the middle of one final tour before settling down and working on their next album. The band layed out a good 50-plus songs to play on this tour. The beauty of a Murder by Death show is they always have a diverse setlist. It's not something a lot of bands like to do. Many have been playing 80% of the same set for years, but Murder by Death always make their shows exciting. To top it all off, they're dedicating a portion of their sets to In Bocca Al Lupo, which is celebrating its ten year anniversary.
Joining Murder by Death for this part of the tour is Tim Barry. Some of you may recognize the name as he was the vocalist for the late and great, Avail. He's been on his own for years now providing the musical ether with his own brand of Folk-Punk. Fans of Murder by Death weren't the only ones in attendance. Barry's following made sure to show up to sing along to his vigorous set. Tim even took the time to step down to their level and play from the crowd.
Shortly after Tim Barry finished his performance, Murder by Death walked out to traverse many avenues of their repetroir. They opened with Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon's boisterous, "I Came Around." Not too long after they jumped from rowdy numbers like, "52 Ford," "The Curse of Elkhart," and "Ash," to more somber tracks like, "Lost River," "Strange Eyes," and "Big Dark Love." As can be expected though, they pulled out some surprises. Midway through the set, they did a sort of "David Bowie Tribute." One song was their own, "I Shot an Arrow," which frontman, Adam Turla, explained as being inspired by Bowie's musical prowess. The other was a cover of Bowie's own, "Moonage Daydream," which they recently covered for the band's Kickstarter covers album, As You Wish: Vol. 2. Naturally, the crowd went nuts.
Turla likes to take the time to banter and tell stories between songs. He told a short story about how they recently played in a venue across from Slayer recently in Portland. And because they can be such a humorous bunch, they dedicated the joyful love song, "Foxglove," to Slayer and the Devil. The band also delved into their deep cuts and played, "Good Morning, Magpie" -- a song they previously hadn't performed before this tour -- and the dreary, "Raw Deal," from In Bocca Al Lupo. They continued to honor In Bocca Al Lupo's anniversary with the explosive, "Dynamite Mine" and "Shiola." And of course, what Murder by Death set would be complete without, "Brother." Potentially, the band has probably grown tired of playing the hit, but it truly never gets old. It livens up any and all members of the audience. The same goes for Red of Tooth and Claw's, "Comin' Home." Setlist staples that I don't believe I'll ever get sick of. Sorry guys!
Unfortunately, there were no signs of anything from Like The Exorcist... but don't worry, judging from a couple setlists from nights before, they haven't completely ignored the album on this tour. Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them got a little love. Towards the end they threw in "Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue," but the icing on the cake was the encore. After coming back out to play "Fuego," Turla was having some problems with his guitar and had to switch it out. Low and behold, his legendary "flame guitar" lives! It's not something he pulls out often anymore, but it was the right guitar to have for the last song of the night, "That Crown Don't Make You a Prince." They had promised it earlier that night when someone called for it in the crowd. They couldn't have ended the night on a higher note -- almost literally.
If you have the chance to catch Murder by Death on this tour before they supposedly go into hiding this year, don't miss out. The band sounds as good as ever. No beats were missed on Dagan's watch. Fountain's additional backing vocals and instrumentation brings new life on tracks normally performed solely. Balliet's playing is always beautiful and graceful. Matt's deep tone kept the songs striding along, while Turla's voice has yet to crack after all these years. Best of all, you can keep you expectations high for songs you want to hear without feeling like it's hopeless. Go see Murder by Death.
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