Trail of Dead brings SXSW to life

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.

JERSEY CITY, NJ – AUGUST 01: Musicians Conrad Keely and Jay Phillips of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead perorm on stage during the 2009 All Points West Music & Arts Festival at Liberty State Park on August 1, 2009 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

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 No venues were trashed, no invitations rescinded — just a memorable set of guitar rock and a bar full of fans stunned at what they just witnessed.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.


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