Wednesday, January 30, 2019

... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead @ Petit Bain, Paris - January 30th, 2019

Don't blink if you don't want life to pass you by. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (which we will shorten to ToD for the rest of this piece) is celebrating twenty years of their sophomore album Madonna. Time flies when you're having fun.

To put things in perspective, when The Who's second album turned twenty, the year was 1986. Keith Moon had been dead nearly a decade and they had completed their (first) farewell tour four years before.

Not that you'd mistake ToD for a bunch of decrepit classic rockers. In fact, from watching their performance last night you wouldn't believe their main members are pushing fifty.

It's always a delicate exercise to try and describe a band's sound but if you're unfamiliar with ToD, the closest I can come is this: they are like the bastard child of an ungodly threesome between Smashing Pumpkins, Fugazi and Sonic Youth, with an extra emo chromosome or two.

As the band kept reminding us, this is the first night of the tour and they were still ironing out a few kinks but from an audience perspective it wasn't noticeable. In fact it was an excellent show.

First of all, the setlist was perfect. To commemorate the fact that the Madonna record is almost of drinking age in Texas, they played the whole thing in full and after a short intermission they also played the entire Source Tags & Codes album!

Secondly, the band played great. The line-up is still that of a scaled-back quartet but less people doesn't mean less intensity. In fact it only took forty seconds for the audience to go apeshit and turn the floor into a mosh pit.

I never realised the band had such a following outside of the US. Le Petit Bain was packed (I'd say about 400 people) and the although the main demographic was 35 year-old male hipster, there were also some old punks, middle-aged metal heads and even some young teenagers, all rocking to the glorious racket of one of the best alternative bands out there. No longer a young band, not a veteran band either but a current band allowing itself to look back with pride at some of their past achievements.

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