Since 1995, Austin-based alternative rock band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead has executed electrifying live shows for a quarter of a century, rallying their dedicated fans through ten full-length studio albums. In a series of live stream concerts over the last three weeks, …Trail of Dead has now taken to virtual form, performing for thousands across the globe. On Friday, the latest and final live stream featured songs old and new, with an extensive set list and a thrilling virtual experience.
Frontmen Jason Reece and Conrad Keely, who formed the band as a dynamic duo, alternate between vocals, drums and guitar both live and in the studio. The first track of the show, “Half of What,” a song off their self-titled 1998 debut album, kicks off with Keely on vocals/lead guitar and Reece smashing it on the drums. The show’s opener pays homage to …Trail of Dead’s early sound, one which continues to play a distinguishing role in their music decades later.
Reece steps up to the microphone and straps on a guitar for “All St. Day,” a track that showcases Reece and Keely as a dynamic vocal duo, with the former’s clear tone perfectly complementing the latter’s raspier timbre. “Rest Will Follow” is a cinematic tune, presenting a radical picture of Reece and prodigal new addition Ben Redman hitting the drums side-by-side. By prioritizing the manifold use of instruments, …Trail of Dead sound just as powerful live as they do in the studio. A keyboard, played by multi-talented AJ Vincent, is added to the musical mixture with “Inland Sea,” bestowing a sense of sincerity to the verses with slower drums and softer guitar.
Lost in amusingly casual conversation, Keely and Reece recount a certain Halloween spent in Europe on tour, which all, surprisingly, has a role in the next track, “Eight Days of Hell.” “This is for all you motherf*ckers who didn’t buy this album,” Keely jokes while introducing “Pinhole Cameras,” another fast-paced, chaotic track dedicated to the band’s Texas home base.
The following three tracks debut …Trail of Dead’s new music, songs they haven’t yet had the chance to play live. The band’s tenth full-length studio album, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories, released January of this year, is a perfect mixture of everything …Trail of Dead does well; a record that is consistent and accessible, not too abrasive and yet still characterized by their decades-old, distinctive sound. “All Who Wander” plays with synth undertones, a nod to a more alternative sound, while “Children of The Sky” is ponderous and intimidating, the music seeming to gradually mold around Keely’s vocals. “Blade of Wind” meshes synthy keyboard and steady bass to bring together distinctly different sounds in the best way.
“Totally Natural” is the perfect finale track filled with metal-influenced riffs and a fast tempo that ends the concert with an energetic bang. The track fades out gradually, as if …Trail of Dead resents the end but promises an eventual return to the stage.