Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rockin' Out: The Murder City Devils @ Maxwell's 07/16/10

Back in 2000, I used to swap promos (promotional copies of records that record companies [used to?] make to give to journalists, radio stations, etc.) with a guy at Sub Pop. He had sent me a record called In Name And Blood by a band I had never heard before called The Murder City Devils. I listened to the album a few times and LOVED it, but my real appreciation of the album came about when it was a large part of the soundtrack to driving around the South while a co-worker/friend and I spent a week  following one of the bands we worked with on Ozzfest that year. I got to see them live once in October of 2001 before they broke up and called it quits. It was an amazing show and I still have the t-shirt I bought at it buried somewhere. I was disappointed that I hadn't gotten the band on my radar earlier and taken more opportunities to see them live (especially when they were touring with another band who called it quits around the same time they did...At The Drive-In).

As seems to be the trend these days, the band recently reunited and went on tour. I caught their set at Nokia Theater back in February and the band was just as good as when I saw them almost 9 years earlier (and it was the one show I've attended this year that I haven't written a review for...I moved that day and was just caught up with unpacking for a while and forgot to write something about it). When I heard they were playing Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ which is less than 10 minutes walking distance from my house, I bought tickets without hesitation. Maxwell's is a very small room and it'd be really easy to get up close and personal with the band while they performed.

And up close and personal with the band is exactly what I got. The sweltering, brutal July heat followed all of us inside of Maxwell's, so I eventually had to retreat towards the back of the room to catch some fresh air, but the show still ruled from that distance too (the back of the room is maybe 35-45 feet from the stage, so we aren't talking large club distances here). Singer Spencer Moody comes across as a less chubby punk rock Zach Galifianakis, but without the goofy comedic appeal. The guy is all business and he delivers one of those performances that is hard to take your eyes off of. The band is tight as hell in a sloppy way as befits their music. The guitarist Dann Gallucci looks like he could be in Madball or Earth Crisis, but certainly doesn't play anything resembling uninspired hardcore. Drummer Coady Willis is also the drummer for Melvins and Big Business, so his drumming abilities don't even need to be qualified. The rest of the band is awesome as well and put all together they create some beautiful noise. Being able to see the band perform personal favorite songs of theirs like "18 Wheels", "Idle Hands", "Rum To Whiskey", "I Drink The Wine", "Press Gang" and "Midnight Service At The Mutter Museum" made taking a couple elbows to the ribs and getting my glasses knocked off my head and almost crushed by a bunch of stomping feet 110% worth it. Proof of how much fun I was having even made it to the internet as my beautiful mug wound up in 4 shots of the crowd in Brooklyn Vegan's coverage of the show (they also have infinitely better pictures of the band than I do).

I hope I get many more opportunities to see The Murder City Devils, but if they decide to break up again after this tour, then at least I got to experience them at their best in an intimate venue and that might just be the most satisfying memory I could have of them.

Not only could I not resist buying a shirt, but I couldn't resist buying a vinyl (for only $10) so that I could frame it and hang it up in my music room.

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