The Mancunion

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Live: …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at Club Academy

The Texan alt-rockers bring their incendiary live show to Manchester for the second time in as many years


11th October 2012


Few bands inspire quite the same sort of devotion that Texas’ genre-bending stalwarts …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Theirs is a turbulent story; rising to prominence in the late nineties and releasing their magnum opus, Source Tags and Codes, in 2001 to a rapturous critical and commercial reception, only to be subsequently written off and largely ignored on both fronts in the eleven years since. And yet to those that kept the faith, their power has never really waned, as demonstrated at Club Academy this evening.

Given the Trail’s formidable live reputation, most supports would be quaking at the prospect of having to open for them. But Maybeshewill are perhaps the perfect choice given their ability to create emotive instrumental soundscapes that appeal without demanding familiarity. Their performance is astonishingly tight, showcasing their trademark dynamic of sweeping piano-led uplift followed by monolithic crush and steadily drawing in punters from the venue’s margins.

Trail of Dead’s performance, in typical style, is much more chaotic. This is the dynamic they have built their reputation upon, and while their performance this evening is full of their well-established bluster, thankfully there’s no evidence of the former cracks that would lead to full-blown fights onstage. Instead their energy is perfectly channelled into rousing and infectious singalongs interspersed with stretched-out psychedelic jams which feed off the crowd rather than becoming self-indulgent.

Material from the forthcoming Lost Songs sits well amongst classics such as ‘Caterwaul’, which has the room bouncing in unison and proves to be the catalyst for a heightened level of kinetic energy for the remainder of the set. The most gleeful of moshpits opens up in appreciation, and by the time the band’s signature track, ‘Another Morning Stoner’, rings out as the evening’s closer, the latest in a long line of Manchester appearances for Trail of Dead has served only to further enhance their live credentials.