Google "…Trail of Dead" and "chaos" and you find the two are heavily intertwined. As a long running group with a ridiculous band name, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have unfortunately been unable to shake off that novelty aspect.
For many …The Trail of Dead are just goofy name, backed up by years of bad behaviour from band members and little else. The fact they have eight albums (some critically acclaimed) under their belts goes astray. Without national airplay and little publicity ….Trail of Dead have become the cult American band known for their chaotic shows. Band members have come and gone, yet they persist in making interesting, unusual heavy rock unlike anyone else.
"This is the first night of the tour so we're going to get acoustic on y'all," lead singer Conrad Keely slurs, before destroying our ribcages with ‘Mistakes & Regrets’. As each chorus kicks in you can feel your ears physically give in, caving over the wash of noise before shocking you again, again and again. It's hard to see how this gig can go on without us clambering for the door and demanding an extended Downton Abbey marathon.
Each song is faster, harder than the last, bursting yet another listener’s eardrums. As a train rumbles over The Cockpit there'll be a poor Rihanna fan enlightened with 30 seconds of ...Trail of Dead in their lives. Those tum-thumping drums kick in like the death march counting down the moment when the room explodes to a thousand decibels. Yet for …Trail of Dead it's not just about volume. Each song structure builds squeaky guitar solos over power - fast chords and those signature rhythms, so when the chaos ensues it feels like a home from home. The older songs may sound out-dated, spiking every so often into a seamless set but the crowd barely falters.
It may be the band’s first date of the tour but years ago in this very venue fans thronged forward pushing and scraping towards the front. Tonight it becomes increasingly aware that …Trail of Dead aren’t the ones who a little frosty, but the room is. Without that sweat, the stage diver cheering every note, and the exciting energy thick within the air, …Trail of Dead are less chaotic than we remember.
Latest album 'Lost Songs' represents a new …Trail of Dead, stripped back to create the unique developing melodies they used to, before the mess and wandering, overlong tracks creep in. Tonight there are no tantrums, no thrashing or childish arguments. Instead it’s replaced by a return to form sandwiched with songs detailing the history of the group. Chaotic may be the first thought from a …Trail of Dead fan but it appears they’re not as intertwined as we once thought.
Words by Ruth Offord
Photos by Andy Cook