Words and photos by Zachary Timm
It was expected that this was going to be a loud raucous rock 'n' roll show, I mean all you have to say is ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of The Dead is playing and you know what you are in for. What I wasn’t expecting was that the opening band, Midnight Masses was going to blow them out of the water.
Although it is hard to separate the two groups from one another since Trail of Dead’s Jason Reece is a member of the band and Conrad Keely performed on a couple of songs as well, but their dark gothic Americana was so intoxicating that it was hard to shake the full impact of their top notch performance.
My friend and I were walking in right when Midnight Masses took the stage and were completely engrossed by the dynamic Nick Cave-like voice of lead singer Autry Rene Fulbright (also of Dragons of Zynth). He belted the lyrics of “Heaven” like he was preaching to the choir, hands risen to the air beckoning a higher being. It was as if the religiosity of down south collided with a full throttle rock band creating a haunting spiritually engrossing psychedelic rock experience. Every single song was unique and larger than life with their densely layered guitar riffs, dual drum tribal beats and bold melodic full band harmonies that enveloped the howl of Fulbright. It was a show that kept my attention for the full performance and got me pumped for the Trail of Dead show that was still ahead.
But sadly the momentum was killed when The Pains of Being Pure Heart took stage. Their bubbly blend of early 90s rock and 80s Brit pop along with the Morrissey-like delivery of their lead singer did not seem to fit in with the rest of the show. I will admit that their music really made me nostalgic, but that was definitely not what I was looking to hear after they dynamically haunting performance that the Midnight Masses had just put on. They were a good, catchy band, but just a tad out of place.
[Pains Of Being Pure At Heart]
When Trail of Dead took the stage the audience went absolutely crazy. The band kicked off the show with the powerhouse opening numbers “Giants Causeway” and “Far Pavilions” from their latest release Century of Self. They were killer songs to open with that set a hard rock precedent that was completely met through out the whole show. They plowed through their set of operatic prog rock pulling from every album in their library playing songs from both Tags & Codes and Worlds Apart. My favorite songs of the night were new song “Isis Unveiled” that was just full throttle rock 'n' roll at it’s best and Worlds Apart favorites “Will You Smile Again For Me” and the crowd-sing-a-long “Caterwauls”.
[...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead]
The crowd was so in to the show that a mosh pit actually broke out. Marking my first concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg that had a pit develop. I truthfully found it extremely annoying and not really the best music to mosh to, but if that’s how you express your love for the music, who am I to stop the enjoyment? All in all it was a great show that had coming away with a new favorite band Midnight Masses and urge to delve deeper in to Trail of Dead catalog.