Last Night The Dead Science
posted by September 8 at 14:22 PMon
Last night’s Dead Science show was just the spectacle that their new album, Villainaire* deserved. All the night’s bands were introduced by Sam Mickens’ older brother, who, in a suit, hair slicked back, looked like future-Mickens come back in time to help past-Mickens. He introduced the Dead Science with a fanciful personal history involving trash-strewn apartments, psychopathic fathers, and other embellishments, and then spent the rest of their set managing a miniature mosh pit made up of just a few fans.
For their set, the Dead Science was joined onstage by Past Lives’ Morgan Henderson on keys, a harpist, and full string and horn sections. Jhereck Bischoff switched between upright and electric bass. Mickens crooned and played guitar, curling his left leg up off the ground, crane like, to the beat. Drummer Nick Tamburro flailed and pounded wildly but always precisely in time, the culmination of a night full of impressive drummers. With the additional musicians, the songs of Villainaire sounded about as true to the album’s carefully crafted moods as possible. “Make Mine Marvel” and “Sword Cane” both sounded especially epic live, the former’s chorus almost too big for Neumos’ room, the latter’s line, “last night’s not fully revealed itself yet” sounding portentous and damning.
While the Dead Science were the obvious highlight, the whole bill was impressive. Openers Talbot Tagora have significantly improved even in just the last few months, sounding tighter and more aggressive than ever, especially on drums, and looking totally confidant and comfortable up on the Neumos stage. I’ve made a case for their reverby, mumbling vocals before, but now I think it may be time for the band to speak up a bit; they’re just a slight voice change away from having totally grown into their sound. Past Lives, on the other hand, are fully formed and on fucking fire. Mark Gajadhar’s drumming is athletic and dominating, Henderson’s low-end guitar is as sure-footed yet wobbly as the little pacing dance he does on stage, Devon Welch and Jordan Blillie are magnetic forces on guitar and mic respectively.
(*One thing I didn’t quite make room for in that feature: So, obviously, the Dead Science’s fascination with the Wu Tang clan mirrors the Wu’s own fascination with kung fu and comic books; but if the Wu adopted these mythologies to escape real poverty, urban blight, and crime, what, if anything, are the Dead Science escaping by adopting the Wu’s mythology?)