Trail of Dead - Live

By brian

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Portland, OR
June 24, 2003

Before getting down to the nitty gritty of the actual gig, there has to be something to be said about Dante's in Portland. I try to avoid going to Dante's like the plague. On a past experience, I was supposed to be on the guest list. When I arrived, the brain surgeons at the door couldn't find my name. I am surprised they found anyone's name as they looked at their list(s), which consisted of scraps of paper, old napkins, the back of menus. Very tight run ship! On this occasion, I managed to get INTO the show. Dante's is a crowded sweatbox with little to no ventilation. The red lighting throughout does nothing to make it less creepy. It is somewhere between a church basement, and a tired old steakhouse from the 70's

Onto the gig itself. I have been wanting to check these guys out for so long, but didn't. Many people that I know, and really trust recommended Source Tags & Codes, so I checked it out. That is a fantastic album. Great melodies, and riffs. One of the best of '01 hands down. On the strength of that album, I wanted to see them play live. What surprised me about the show at Dante's is their focus. Where on record, they are incredibly tight, almost flawless, that is not the case in person. They seemed very unfocused, and downright sloppy. Now, having never seen them before, I can excuse that as possibly a bad night, and not indicative of a normal TOD show. When they did get into gear, they played a good portion of Source Tags, which were the highlight songs of the set. They did a couple new ones and other tracks that didn't have that same fire. Nothing, however, can excuse them from not doing Relative Ways. When your band has one of the best rock songs of the last few years, PERIOD, you DO it. They chose not to, and I was very disappointed.

Overall, despite the sloppy nature of the show, when they got it together, songs like It Was There That I Saw You, How Near How Far, and Another Morning Stoner, it was very easy to enjoy. As a whole, the experience left me a little more empty that I anticipated.