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Murder by Death @ the Masquerade on 4/20 + Setlist

Since when does the Masq charge $4.50 for PBRs? Good thing I brought a flask filled with bourbon to make it through the night. I especially needed the bourbon to make it through the Linfinity. Each band member had a different look – the violinist looked prim and proper, the lead singer a beach bum bastard child of Luke Wilson and Matthew McConaughey, some metrosexual vintage hipster playing second guitar, a bassist that looked like they pulled him out of a sports bar, and a garage band drummer. You’d think that with all these different looks, they might be memorable. I can’t recall anything about their music because it was so generic; I only remember the violinist trying to start a mosh pit in the middle of a MBD slow song later on. It’s always classy to try to fuck up the mood of another band’s show, I guess.

The second band was far and away better. I had never heard of Ha Ha Tonka, but they had a down-home country sound that really helped set the mood for the entire show. They did a couple of covers, one being “Black Betty” and the other “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, both of which were damn good. I’ve never heard them before but I will surely buy their album. They said that they’ve never been to Atlanta before – but they’ll be back. The audience as a whole really got into the show.

And finally, the headliner. If you’ve never been to a Murder by Death show, buy a ticket for the next time they’re in town. They have one of the best stage presences of any band I’ve ever seen. Adam has a deep, gravelly, Johnny Cash-esque voice. His lyrics are poignant and there’s a common thread through most of their songs – whiskey, mortality, the devil, trying to avoid the law, and a lot of drinking. Sara was a show-stopper as usual; my friend that accompanied me said he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She is always way into the show, it’s intense to watch. And my suspicions were confirmed! She and Adam have set a date for this summer (nothalffull lost the bet, he said they weren’t even dating). Their chemistry on stage is pretty obvious. Anyway, the live performances really changed my mind about some songs I was iffy about on the album, namely White Noise and The Day. I guess I hadn’t gotten into the later songs quite as much. I really wish they had played “As Long as There is Whiskey”, but they have so many good songs in their repertoire now that they really can’t play everything any more. I quite missed “The Desert is on Fire” and any sort of love for the album Like the Exorcist, but More Breakdancing. The encore was pretty sweet. I loved the cover of “Baby Shot Me Down” – the song most famous for being in Kill Bill. MBD needs to cover every song Quentin Tarantino has ever used in a movie (“Comin’ Home” was used in the previews for Inglourious Basterds). Overall, the show had a great energy. I have a hard time comparing this MBD show to any of the other 4 that I’ve been to because all of them have been outstanding. I love the new songs and think that they fit in perfectly with their shows.

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