Band of Skulls – Live

There are times, just a few as a rule, where a great band gets slated to play in a venue where it really has no business playing.  You know, Nirvana gets contractually obligated to play the Puyallup fair, or U2 ends up playing at Kilby Court because no one in Utah has heard The Unforgettable Fire yet.  To a lesser degree, such was the case on Friday night when Band of Skulls (we discussed their album here) played the small room (it’s really small) at the Murray Theater in Murray, Utah with just shy of twenty people in attendance (the room probably could not have held many more, anyway.  It was just so small).

I have no idea how this came about.  I’m sure there’s a juicy story somewhere which tells us why the band was not even headlining in this tiny little venue (when you close the door, the light automatically goes off.  It’s very very small).  I’m sure there’s a publicist or a booking agent somewhere who probably still has no idea what a weird twilight zone evening he or she created.  When asked about the bizarre situation, lead guitarist and vocalist Russell Marsden only smiled and rolled his eyes.  But it’s best not to inquire too deeply into such things.  Partly because you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, and that’s what these evenings are: a perfect little gift that a fan can unwrap and enjoy.  We enjoyed standing at the edge of a very small stage (if the band sat down on it, they would have had room on the stage for only one butt cheek each.  It was, you know, small) and listening to this band play more than I can possibly express.

The words, “virtuoso performance” spring to mind, but even that seems to fall short.  The band makes wonderful, innovative music, but to see them live is like seeing a rocket launch after only hearing rumors about it before.  It was just a brilliant, incendiary performance that made their legitimately awesome recorded hits seem pedestrian by comparison.  My head is still ringing with the chords from their set-ending performance of “Impossible” which just about blew the walls out of the room (The walls were pretty close, cause the place was so dang small).  At the end, Russell actually laid down his Fender Jaguar and let it keep ringing out while he sculpted the amazing reverberations of sound with his pedal.  He’s not the first to do this, of course, but it’s one of the coolest things to see live and he pulled it off as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.  The only thing that would have made the evening better is if they had played “Cold Fame,” but that’s a minor quibble, as the set was darn near perfect as is.

The next time we see them, this band will probably be on a big stage with thousands of people in attendance, and they will deserve it, but it’s nice to be there when, whether it was through someon’e silly mistake or what, we get to actually hang out with them and see them perform as if they were standing in our living room (it was actually smaller than our living room.  Our couch wouldn’t have fit in there.  It was pretty freakin’ small).

[Cross-posted at Kulturblog]

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One Response

  1. I went to see the Whigs (at a small venue) with a friend and Band of Skulls opened for them. I’d never heard of BoS, but WOW, what a awesome suprise! I will forever be a fan! Not only did they sound great, but they were the nicest, most greatful band I’d ever met.

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