So I was visiting family in Kentucky and was lucky enough to be near Louisville for Murder By Death’s show at Headliners Music Hall on Saturday night.
It was a homecoming of sorts for the band. Cellist Sarah Balliet is a Louisville native, and she and husband (and MBD frontman) Adam Turla have bought a house and are moving to Louisville after years in Bloomington, Indiana. (Check out Sarah’s piece about the move in LEO Weekly — it’s an interesting meditation about place, art, and rock and roll. Sarah’s brother Max, of Louisville’s Holy Molé Taco Truck, even hopped on stage and played guitar during the show.)
As I said along with a gallery of the band performing at The Jinx’s 10th anniversary last fall, Murder By Death has a visceral grasp of pacing that gives a special resonance to the sharp, dark songwriting and the stellar musicianship of the ensemble, which includes Dagan Thogerson on drums, Matt Armstrong on bass, and singer and multi-instrumentalist Scott Brackett. Just when you think you’ve figured out the mood of the evening, or just when you think a particular song has run its course, or just when you think you know what’s coming next, there’s a small surprise — a jolt of something different, something new. MBD’s world is a complex place, with emotional layers that continue to reveal themselves no matter how much you listen.
Murder By Death played one brand new song, maybe titled “A Big Dark Love” — fans of the band won’t be disappointed. MBD is recording right now in Louisville with Kevin Ratterman at La La Land.
Headliners is just the type of space we need here in Savannah — a room with excellent lighting, a big stage, plenty of standing room, and a capacity of 600. (I haven’t yet been to the new Music Vault over in Hardeeville, S.C., so maybe that can fill the niche to some degree.) Also, I have to say that it was pretty bizarre to be at a show where the opener actually starts a little after 8 and the headliner is finished before midnight — we are just on a different planet here in Savannah.
The Foxery opened the show. I liked the heavy sound and versatility of the Louisville-based band — I could imagine them playing alongside Savannah acts like CUSSES and Bear Fight!. The foursome Jaye Jayle — a project of Evan Patterson from Young Widows — was up next with a dense, meditative sound.
A few photos here with lots more after the jump: