Brandon Harr Last night’s Murder City Devils reunion show was, in a

Brandon Harr Last night’s Murder City Devils reunion show was, in a word, sublime. The openers Cold Lake and Past Lives proved great choices as they aptly conveyed a vibe of being seedlings from the MCD’s musical tree. After overhearing the prevalence last night of “I’ve been to see the Priest five times” style stories circulating throughout the crowd, I thought I’d share a few of my own before moving on to a synopsis of last night’s performance.1: RKCNDY, Halloween 1997 – Opening for Mudhoney with Spencer Moody dressed as a drunk sailor and the rest of the pre-Leslie Hardy band as mustachioed, uniformed cops, the MCDs became the first band to deliver on the epic promise of the Seattle music scene I’d expected upon moving here a year prior. They played with fast easy abandon music reminiscent of a beer soaked, trailer park Fugazi married to the Ramones, but seeing the Dead Kennedys, The New York Dolls, and Glenn Danzig on the side. This, coupled with the fact Dann Gallucci was and still is the sexiest motherfucker to ever rock a neck tattoo make them my favorite local band, a title they will hold through their entire run. 2: Bumbershoot, 1999 – The Devils break their self-imposed ban on playing day shows to open for GOD himself, Lemmy Kilmister. With their faces painted in a fashion that was one part KISS and two parts Misfits, I feared Moody and crew might wilt under the pressure of being a spooky, drunken bad asses in the harsh light of day while rabid Motorhead fans champed at the bit for their heavy, heavy metal fix. But the kids brought it and delivered big time, leaving thoughts of their performance to linger while Motorhead played the loudest, most ear-splitting set I have ever had the privilege of being assaulted by. 3: Seattle Center, Summer 2001 – I wish I could remember more specific details of this show’s whereabouts; I’m pretty sure it was the Sky Church, but it occurred at a time in my life when I was, shall we say, perpetually chemically altered. What has remained crystal clear was the palpable tension between the band members which parlayed into aggressive sonic perfection. It was the musical equivalent of having the best sex of your relationship because you’re sensing things are coming to an end. Moody’s voice was strong and ragged, and the band was tight without losing their element of danger. This combo along with my state of perception that evening made for one of those times when music and drugs combine for pure transcendence. I’m pretty sure I left my body and saw myself among the pogoing masses, but honestly that may have been the ecstasy and whatever else I’d ingested. Which brings us to last night’s show… The first band up, noisy post-punks Cold Lake gave it up hard and fast and included a rant about an anonymous commenter on our city’s other paper’s blog that referred to local music lady as a C. U. Next Tuesday. They came gallantly to this fair maiden’s defense and it was nice to see a baby band interested in something other than self-promotion. Brandon HarrPast Lives are a band currently running in the hamster wheel hype machine and I was glad they lived up to all the things I’d heard. They are of a more tempered breed of punk rock than either Cold Lake or the MCDs and bring an impressive sense of timing and structure (along with a great look) live. I predict the buzz on this band isn’t going away any time soon.Brandon HarrThe Murder City Devils’ themselves were almost everything a long time fan of the band like myself could have hoped for: loud, high energy and just controlled enough to for the music to come off aces. Playing a mix of songs from their catalog, their performance style showed the maturity you’d expect from a now veteran act without compromising the elements of danger that made the band notorious. Leslie Hardy still has the best job in rock ‘n roll, playing one-handed keyboard lines that allow her to chain smoke the band’s set away. Spencer Moody, who has a “Santa Clause” thing going (bearded, a little heavier and rocking a baggy sweatshirt with the band’s logo festively emblazoned in red, green and white) crowd surfed and yelled through a mike stuffed in his mouth throughout the show. Cody Willis proved why he is still one of the most emulated drummers on the Seattle scene reigning in the raging tempos along with a bearded Derek Fudesco who has somehow managed to look even younger now than he did back in ’96. The guitar pairing of Nate Manny and Dann G hasn’t lost any luster over the years and they are still one of the most technically superior, visually stimulating, blazing guitar combos you could hope for. When Moody screamed “Can’t get no dance hall music” from the bands early Dance Hall Music EP I got a little misty and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up simultaneously. The only disappointment of the evening was the band ending their set early and excluding perpetual crowd favorite ‘Boom Swagger Boom’ from the set. When you have a room full of rabid fans, who’ve shelled out 20 bucks in this economy to hear you play songs from ten years ago, and you take some faux punk rock stand on your most popular song, it felt a little like climbing off your partner after orgasm, cause hey, you’ve gotten yours. It made what could have been one memorable experience somewhat anticlimactic. Regardless, here’s hoping the Devils keep on rocking and feel like gracing us with some new music for the next decade.

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