Murder by Death Brings the Whiskey-Soaked Party to the Tractor Friday
It’s never too early to start fantasizing about Friday, and all the therapeutic drinks that will be drunk. And no spot in town will offer up better stress relief this week than the Tractor Tavern, which plays host to whiskey-swigging rockers Murder by Death, currently on tour celebrating the band’s tenth anniversary.
In those ten years, Murder by Death has cultivated a reputation for shows that feel more like house parties, with liquor flowing and toasts raised, and an overwhelming sense of camaraderie between band and audience that results in impassioned sing-alongs and exuberant fist-pumping.
Their sound is particularly suited for the Tractor, as Murder by Death draws from all sorts of Americana influences in its quest to create a deliciously unique stew. There’s Adam Turla’s deep, Johnny Cash-like rumble, which is itself enough to knock a person flat as it croons out lyrics about outlaws, drunks, and a battle between the Devil and a Mexican town. There are piratical sea shanties that would feel at home on the coasts of colonial America, and Western nods tailored for a Clint Eastwood gun duel. Consistent through it all is an alluring gothic feel, provided in huge part by Sarah Balliet and her haunting cello.
If it sounds like just a series of gimmicks, rest assured the songs stand on their own, as witnessed in this stripped-down video:
But oh, yeah, and let’s get back to the whiskey. Such fans of this incomparable elixir of life is the band that Murder by Death’s current Kickstarter campaign includes a trip with them to Louisville, KY, for any backer who pledges $6,500. “And yea, we shall drink bourbon,” they proclaim, promising a day of riding around in a limo and getting wasted on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Sure, the price might seem steep—but the Indiana-based quintet has already raised over $130,000, blowing their initial goal out of the water, with three days still to go. That speaks to the dedication of the band’s fans, and the other, more affordable, Kickstarter items speak to the unrivaled devotion Murder by Death has for them in return (example: drummer Dagan Thogerson is getting a fan-selected tattoo as part of the campaign).
That kind of love affair is well worth the $15 for this Friday’s 21+ gig, if only to observe this rare intimacy from the fringes of the audience. Just don’t be surprised when you find yourself taking a shot, moving to the middle of the pack, and diving into the party.