Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

July 31, 2006 at 5:28pm

Capitol Hill Block Party: Murder City Devils review

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The energy was there.  The band's best didn't show up.
Almost five years after the Murder City Devils’ "final performance," on Halloween 2001 at the Showbox in Seattle, a bearded Spencer Moody and company climbed the steps of the Capitol Hill Block Party's main stage, and attempted to give a frenzied and drunk crowd, packed in like cattle, flowing all over Pine Street, what they'd been craving since the band's untimely demise. The crowd wanted the Devils they remembered. They wanted Derek Fudesco's sinister bass licks. They wanted Moody's slurred, inebriated howling. They wanted the signature organ.
Saturday night they got it, the Murder City Devils just weren't as good at dishing it out as they used to be.
It didn't matter. The crowd foamed at the mouth.  People wanted it so bad that the Devils' rust, or how out of sync they were, or how tired they looked was of no concern.  Fists pumped throughout. The band stumbled and sweated through over an hour of their most beloved material â€" drawing heavily from Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, and In Name and Blood.  Those in attendance loved every minute. A sea of bodies writhed, and red, limp punk rock girls kept being dragged past me from a drenched and dehydrated pit, which grew to impressive proportion and pressed against the barrier of the stage.  People who'd long ago hung up their punk rock faces, dug through their closet, and strapped them back on â€" much like the band tried to strap back on their identity as Seattle's reigning champs of rock and roll.
People ate that shit up.
I believe I've become an elitist.  There I was, surrounded by thousands of intoxicated, perspiring, and content fans, seeing the show they've waited years for, eying a band they thought they'd never see again, and all I could think was, "Man, that sound's off.  They look kind of disorganized. Did they even practice? There's way too much high end on that guitar, and it cuts out in the middle. You can barely even hear that keyboard."
Everyone else seemed to be thinking, "Goddamn I love the Murder City Devils. This is fucking rad. I'm fucking hammered."
The sound sucked, but it didn't matter. I was in a small, small minority of people interested with the actual sound. Sometimes, as strange as it seems, a show isn't about sound at all.  Saturday night was an event, an experience.  People left happy because they wanted to leave happy.  People saw their favorite band, thought dead forever, back in place and on stage.  All the imperfections were unimportant.  The mediocre sound was an afterthought, because Moody had the mic again, Fudesco was beside him, Coady Willis was thumping his drums, and Gabe the roadie was watching over them.  The Murder City Devils looked older and out of practice at being the band everyone came to see. 
No one cared.
The Murder City Devils reunited for their first show in nearly five years on Saturday, July 29, closing out the 2006 Capitol Hill Block Party.  Everyone who went will tell you it was awesome. Why shouldn't I? â€" Matt Driscoll

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