Stories of rowdy Austin avant rockers …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead are the stuff of SXSW fables — once-upon-a-times where a band plays a blistering set then trashes a venue and is kindly asked to not return. But those were tales told ages ago, when Rainey Street wasn’t even a twinkle in a developer’s eye.
Wednesday night the tales proved to be no match for the real raw ferocity of Trail of Dead, who played at Bungalow at 1 a.m. Well, make that 1:30 a.m.
A lengthy soundcheck pushed the band up against the 2 a.m. cutoff wall and forced a shorter than the already-short SXSW 50-minute set, boiling things down to six songs. That’s a short set for a band with big songs and plenty of guitars. Trail of Dead does not travel lightly — swapping guitars with each song, they had an arsenal of guitars extensive enough to loan instruments to all the other bands on the night’s line-up if needed. Moshing fans, breaking guitar strings and ringing ears and it all came to a close just under the 2 a.m. wire.
There were moshing fans, breaking guitar strings and ringing ears, and it all came to a close just under the 2 a.m. wire. No venues were trashed, no invitations rescinded — just a memorable set of guitar rock and a bar full of fans stunned at what they just witnessed.
Trail of Dead play again Friday afternoon at Cheer Up Charlie’s.