Trail of Dead Kill at Last-Minute Austin Show

Austin Chronicle | July 23, 2004
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Big Orange, Thursday, July 15

It’s one of the hottest days yet, and Sound Team is hosting – and playing – another of its brilliant benefits to pay the rent at Big Orange, their self-made studio/practice space off East Fourth. There’s only one problem: The old record-pressing plant isn’t air-conditioned and has become a giant, stinking sauna. After bouncing to the pounding beats of A Tiger Named Lovesick, the party pours into the temperate humidor to watch Austin’s anarchist sons, Trail of Dead, rock a new lineup carrying a batch of tracks off their recently completed, Mike McCarthy-produced album set for a late-September release.

"If we’re gonna play this shit, we really need to be fucked up," Conrad Keely warns before introducing new bassist Danny Wood of the Rise and fellow percussionist and Nashville native Donnie Schroeder. "Neil is taking a sabbatical," he offers in explanation.

The intro of new song "Will You Smile Again" shakes the cinder-block walls with a fury expected from TOD, demanding the attention of those too smart to step into the above-100-degree garage. A slower, immediate romp shaped by the double-drum assault, "Smile" epitomizes the new material: clean, a bit poppy, and begging for a sing-along, miles away from the chaotic mess for which TOD has been known. After a second new rocker, the now fivepiece launches into HBO-favorite "Relative Ways" as the room gyrates and thrashes like 15-year-olds at a Minor Threat show. Mohawked Jason Reece’s newbie "Caterwaul" follows shortly after, pumping fists and screaming like Ian MacKaye circa 1982.

Just when the scales seem like they’re tipping in Clear Channel’s direction with the crispier and tighter TOD, Reece scolds the crowd with a ridiculous, expletive-based diatribe that hardcores know and love. "Richter Scale Madness" courses through the veins of the moshing, testosterone-driven men surrounding the facing kits as they wait for destruction. The band that now headlines festivals and fills arenas is more at home in this sweaty, Lone Star garage surrounded by friends and fans that have been there since the duo days. This is punk rock. "Kill, kill, kill!" – Darcie Stevens

Austin Chronicle

Austin, Texas is a distinctively vital, creative, and diverse community in the heart of the Lone Star State, a place where politics, arts, and culture are as elemental as air, water, and the big Texas sky. The Austin Chronicle is...
More »
Contact for Reprint Rights
  • Market Served: Metropolitan Area
  • Address: P.O. Box 4189, Austin, TX 78765
  • Phone: (512) 454-5766