The murder city was most definitely in my heart. In fact, one can safely assume that the murder city was in the hearts of nearly everyone else who attended the Capitol Hill Block Party on Saturday, July 29, 2006. The Murder City Devils arose from the ashes of their 2001 demise to prove what die-hard MCD fans have known since their beginning, that they are legends and that their live show is a must-have rock experience.
Let me set the stage for the hysteria that took place at the beginning of their set. The MCD had yet to even begin, yet the fans were "obviously" yearning to see them. The crowd surged forward during the entire thirty-minutes of set-up. There were fans passing out, some that the security could not even get to, and other fans were constantly lifted over the front barricades desperate to escape the throngs of the then maniacal fans. It escalated to a body-crushing intensity once the Devils took to the stage. The scene was absolute mayhem. Having feared for my well being (seriously), I escaped the crowd after the first song (it took two more songs to get to a safe, breathable distance) and had to stand on a chair in order to see anything. There were people in trees, buildings, and basically anywhere that provided a good view above the crowd that was *at least* 100 persons long and 50 persons wide (for some reason, "persons" instead of peoples seems a lot more suitable in this case.)
From my view on the chair, I witnessed the unique rock & roll experience that makes the Devils legendary. Live, the Devils never waver in the ferocity with which they perform. Four years, eight months, and twenty-nine days of death had no effect. In fact, their reincarnation was better than ever. The devils played sixteen songs, though the first three I can not recall thanks to my near-death experience up front. For those of you who enjoy knowing set lists, after the initial three came "Bear Away," "I Drink The Wine," "One Vision Of May," "Fields Of Fire," "Dancin' Shoes," "Left Hand Right Hand," "Bride of the Elephant Man," "Dear Hearts," "Rum To Whiskey," "Midnight Service At The Mutter Museum," "Press Gang," "18 Wheels," and "Dance Hall Music."
Spencer Moody took a moment to get everyone "up to speed" on the lives of himself and his band mates from the past five years. Supposedly, Derek Fudesco entered some type of rehab, Leslie Hardy went backpacking, Dann Gallucci dabbled in real estate, Coady Willis took up tantra meditation, Nate Manny had eight kids, and Spencer watched a whole lot of T.V.
Though the music was performed with the same awesome intensity as always, Spencer sang some songs a little differently. Whether that was intentional or not is a mystery, but it is always refreshing for things to not sound exactly how they are on record. That's the beauty of a live show. Drum-genius Coady Willis banged the hell out his drum-set mesmerizing all those in his view. Guitarist Dann Gallucci moved about the stage with his random twists and turns and his animated expressions. Derek Fudesco played bass as rock sexy as ever, his head down and his body pulsing to each note he struck. Leslie Hardy played her keyboard with her classic don't f@#% with me look. Nate Manny kept his cool and calm rock demeanor. With Spencer Moody's vocals, you feel as though your heart is being crushed. There is a certain level of anguish in his voice, but you find that you crave more and more. The band is completely tuned into one another. You can tell this band was once a "family" in that their looks and body language convey what they are communicating to each other. Dann and Spencer often displayed this during the night, as Spencer would lean on Dann with looks of agony and adoration. Collectively, the band seems to tell a story each time they play, which really makes their live show unequaled by others.
The crowd never did falter in their energy. The pushing never ceased during the performance. The band was throwing their bottled water out to the crowd and hoses were used to provide some sort of relief for those with the gusto to stay up front. Fans were everywhere, especially in the air. It was rare not to see them flinging themselves onto the crowd. During "One Vision of May," one individual climbed the ten-plus foot speakers and taunted the security, only to leap from the speakers onto the "fortunate" folks below. People were diving toward the stage with hopes of getting as far to the front as possible. A fight broke out when one fan jumped from a barricade onto the crowd. It's pretty accurate to say that this was a first-time experience for many of those in attendance, seeing as though a great number were quite young. But they did know the songs and were equally enthusiastic as those who were fortunate to see the Devils five to ten years ago.
Towards the end of the set, Spencer apologized to everyone for saying that they would never ever play again. The thing is, the Murder City Devils had absolutely nothing to apologize about. It is such a privilege to see them perform. They always go above and beyond to make a memorable experience for their fans. They are wonderful musicians and fantastic individuals. Thank you to the Murder City Devils.