While visiting my friend in Pittsburgh recently, he put on Trail of Dead's album Source Tags and Codes. I didn't know then that i would get a chance to see them a few days later. It was fortutious while walking down the street in Stockholm when i saw a poster for this show. So we decided to hit that shit hard ....
I hadn't listened to them much since i saw them on tour for that album at Club Clearview in 2002. Since then, they've hired a full-time, talented drummer. So when Jason Reese(guitar/vocals) puts down his guitar to play sloppy drums he's not the only one keeping the beat. The other guitarist, Conrad Keely, forgoes the drums completely these days and sticks to guitar (save for one song on piano, weak!)instead of switching off like they used to. They've also added a keyboard player. I really liked looking at the lead, older guitarist that looks shockingly similar to Roy Orbison(probably on purpose, i hear looking like Roy O. gets dudes lots of ladies in Austin).
The red curtain opened and they started the set off with the soft piano opener "Invocation". The third song they played was the high spirited and anticipated "It was there that i saw you". This one went hard. They played a few other good ones i recognized and lots that i didn't. Even though i may not have been very familiar with the more recent output of these guys the show was really fun and energetic to watch. During "Caterwaul", Jason ran to the bar at the back of the room, while being fed mic cable, did a shot of whiskey, and surprised the shit out of my friend,Antoine, that was getting a drink. This was a show highlight for sure. Bummer my disposable camera(which btw was the first disposable camera i think Sweden has seen since 1994) was all out of film. They played one encore after close to an hour of thier dynamic set.
There's been a rumor about Trail of Dead that i've been hearing for years that they're actually from Plano not Austin(which i guess sounds cooler?). Along with countless other speculators, a Dallas Observer article mentioned this tidbit years ago and my friend in the 'Burg recently adamantly agreed. I was able to find an answer to this once and for all while i caught up with Conrad at the merch booth where he was selling original artwork. One print that included Daniel Johnston looked particularly interesting. But back to the point, after i asked him he said, "No. That was just a joke". I put a little pressure on him and probed him with a, "Really?" to which he gave me another denial. I enquired if he had anything against people from Plano to which he responded, "No, a lot of our friends are from there". I guess that solves my inane mystery.