The concept of seeing a classic album played in full can sometimes be problematic. Of course it would seem ideal to hear and feel that classic and hopefully favourite album played from start to finish. But on the other hand there is no element of surprise. No wondering what comes next in the set list. You are guaranteed to hear great music that's for sure though. I have been to a couple in the past. Dirty Three and Sonic Youth to be exact. And both turned out to be quite special. And both bands tacked on some extras just to fill out the night. When Austin hard rockers ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead announced that they would be giving the same treatment to their classic decade long album "Source Tags & Codes" I thought two things. This will be great and this will sell out in an instant. I was right in the first instance but dead wrong in the second.
When we arrived at the Metro Theatre on Thursday night we first noticed that the back of the theatre was curtained off and that the area in front of the stage was sparsely populated to say the least. By the time the band took the stage it had filled out a bit but there was still plenty of room for more. This was a mystery. "Source Tags & Codes" is a ferocious beast of an album that ebbs and flows between beauty and assault. It is poetic, strange and unique. I know the band are sailing under the radar at the moment but where was everyone. No matter. It was still great. As "Invocation" floated across the room with its stark piano lines the anticipation built. Then "It Was There That I Saw You" was launched and we were off and running. The iconic guitar riff of "Another Morning Stoner" just turned up the volume. As they pummeled through the album it brought back so many great memories of the time when the album was released. Conrad Keely is a ferocious frontman, whilst Jason Reese's drumming is a huge feature of their sound. "How Near How Far" was a real favourite of the night as was the title track but it was probably "Days Of Being Wild" that surprisingly became the highlight of the night. It was a beast. As is the album. As was the band.