February 9, 2015

LIVE REVIEW: Trail Of Dead at the Rosemount, 29.05.13


Saturday 25 May 2013 at the Rosemount Hotel

First published by the Space Ship News 29 May 2013

Another Saturday night at the Rosemount and the venue is slowly filling with languid, well-groomed twenty-somethings for the last night of Texas alt-rock band … AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD’s Australian tour.  Special guests SINCERELY, GRIZZLY are due on stage any moment now, though the bar is high tonight: Trail Of Dead will be playing from their 2002 album, ‘Source Tags & Codes’, widely regarded as their classic.

But Sincerely, Grizzly are no strangers to high bars.  Long-time Trail Of Dead fans, this is the standard they’ve held themselves to, and this devotion to quality is obvious as they launch into their set.  After a stuttering start and lead vocalist and guitarist Joshua Calligeros’ math lesson lyrics, the set is into full-swing with drummer Rowan Mount exploding at his kit, flanked by the brooding Griffin Farley on bass and Calligeros’ staccato delivery, his eyes fixed firmly on his sock-clad feet.

With their informed, spitting lyrics and tide wash of sound, Sincerely, Grizzly would like you to believe they are the literature whizz-kids of this thrash rock scene, but the crowd are instead wrapped in a casual, feel-good vibe.  Calligeros’ wrestles with a guitar like a surgical nightmare: all electrical tape and loose wires, it falls domestic to his deliberate and skilful fret work.  The bass snarls beneath these jangling guitar lines, and between them Mount having the time of his life behind the kit with sharp cheeky grins and victorious tom rolls as their set pounds to a finish not short of a little drum stick carnage courtesy of Calligeros.  “A dream tour,” he declares, now at its close.

When the lights drop again, the audience ebbs to the stage and the band come on to an enthusiastic but polite cheer: there is respect in this room.  Trail Of Dead’s first set consists entirely of ‘Source Tags & Codes’, with the album’s signature sound complemented by a decade’s worth of complexity, skill and maturity from creative engines Conrad Keely and Jason Reece, both on vocals and guitar, and multi-instrumentalists Jamie Miller on drums and guitar, and Autry Fulbright II on bass.  Reece and Miller will play tag-team for the entirety of these sets, with Reece taking the stage for his songs – including fan favourite ‘Homage’ – and then swapping with Miller to revitalise the percussion as the set drags on; and while perhaps Keely too can’t bear eye contact, Trail Of Dead isn’t shy of marathon tracks like ‘Monsoon’ or the title track ‘Source Tags & Codes’, pursued with an intense and fine industry.

The crowd thrash along to the band as they launch straight into their second set without pause, playing off their other offerings including the new album ‘Lost Song’.  Trail Of Dead cast long shadows with mystical, glass-like guitar melodies floating over the distant thunder of their metal influences; the songs are hurricane confusion with the clear eye of the storm moving through each track.  What is one moment a throbbing riff, a guitar scream, an assault is then bell-jar delicacy.  Trail Of Dead finish anthemic, thematic, and huge as they welcome Calligeros’ onto stage for their final encores.  He looks more ecstatic to be in Trail Of Dead than Sincerely, Grizzly – but who isn’t, in the face of their heroes?

‘LIVE REVIEW: Trail Of Dead at the Rosemount Hotel’, by Richard Moore.


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