Murder By Death, Larry and His Flask Fitzgerald's September 21st, 2013
Humans measure the end of Summer in different ways. For some Labor Day is the end of Summer (and wearing white). For others Summer ends when school starts. Officially, however, Summer ended on Saturday night. What that means, practically speaking, is that Saturday night was one last chance for a sweaty night of beer, friendship, and live music in celebration of the death of the season.
Few tour pairings are as well suited for that kind of sweaty celebration the way Murder by Death and Larry and His Flask are. The Southern spirit is strong in both, the former a bit more gothic and western, the latter more hillbilly, but both the type to get beer drinkers up and rowdy (perhaps a bit too rowdy, depending on your point of view).
And whether it was by cello or by banjo, they did get the crowd moving.
Larry and His Flask are one of the great, underappreciated live acts in modern music. They're the type of band that can win damn near anyone over if they get the chance to play in front of them. Passionate, fun to watch, easy to dance to, they mix punk and bluegrass in a blender and then go balls out on stage.
Highlights of their opening set included an awesome cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", one member of the band crowd surfing and almost taking out the light rig, and an upright bass player that moves like he's playing an instrument ¼ the size of the one he actually is playing.
It's hard not to like a band that proves that more non-ska bands should use trombone and have a song about the Heaven's Gate cult. Good times.
Review continues on the next page.
With Larry and His Flask having warmed up the crowd, Murder by Death took the stage for their set of whiskey-drenched rock to an appreciative crowd. From the start beers were raised, fists were pumped, and lyrics were screamed out by a collection of fans who had clearly been following the band for ages.
The band themselves were on point. Lead singer Adam Turla isn't a flashy singer, but he always seems to know how to put a stamp on a moment with a well timed smile or adding just the right amount of emotion in to a line. When he addresses the crowd he sounds more like a guy shooting the shit with his friends instead of someone addressing a crowd of paying fans. He's very likable, and you can understand why the more hardcore fans are so passionate.
Although their core is rock, Murder by Death have always been more interesting than a lot of indie-rock fare due to their instrumental choices, the main being the fact that they have a cello player, which adds a lot of depth to their music. Those touches are nice live, but their live set is also a good reminder that the band do know how to rock, as evidenced by their original tracks as well as a fun, unexpected cover of "Radar Love."
Eventually the show ended, and so did the Summer. The crowd filed out of Fitz in to a night of cooler temperatures and the start of Fall. If you're the type who views events through your final memory of them, then the lasting impression of Summer 2013 will be that it was a rowdy season.
Personal Bias: A while back I spent 99 cents so that I can have a copy of "Those Who Left" on my phone at all times. It's an excellent late-night driving song when you're outside the city.
The Crowd: Rowdy and big fans of Lone Star beer. Shout out to the couple that got engaged during "Foxglove." That was adorable.
Overheard in the Crowd: "They're from Indiana? I like them already," said my +1. Hoosier love, y'all.
Random Notebook Dump: I get it: you find out a band you love is coming to town, you spend weeks getting excited about it, the night comes and of course you want to be as close to the stage as possible. I understand, I really do. But there are ways of getting to the front of the crowd that don't involve being a sexist douchebag. Just something to consider.
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