I took the opportunity of my favorite band, Murder By Death, playing a show to make my first trip to Athens, GA. Obviously lots of great bands have come out of Athens so I was excited to finally catch a show there.
This show was at the Georgia Theatre which is a very nice venue. Good sound, good lighting, a decent amount of space, and a nice slant to the floor to help a bit when taller people are in front of you.
This was a co-headlining tour between Murder By Death and J Roddy Walston and the Business, a band I had never heard prior to this tour announcement. The tour’s opener Johnny Fritz was first, a bit of a novelty act. His songs had children’s music lyrics sang as country ballads. For example, he had songs about making hot dogs and taking out the trash. He had already started when I arrived but I caught about 5 or 6 songs, including a couple he did a capella. He’s talented but it really wasn’t something I could imagine buying an album of and listening to on repeat. I have no kids so I’m probably not the target audience for this anyway.
Only 5 minuets or so after Johnny Fritz left the stage Murder By Death came out ready to play. More high marks for the Georgia Theatre, having them set up ready to go behind Johnny Fritz’s one amp. Seems like something that would always happen when the opener is one person with one guitar but that is definitely not the case.
MBD came out to “Alas” the opener and best song on their latest album “The Other Shore.” We got another new one, “Space” before old favorites like “The Curse of Elkhart” and “I Came Around” and “Strange Eyes” from 2015’s “Big Dark Love.” The set wasn’t too different than they played in Asheville last year. I’m somewhere in the high teens in amount of times I’ve seen MBD so clearly I don’t mind repeats. I never get tired of seeing them play songs like “Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue,” “Brother,” and “Comin Home.” “Foxglove” and “Lost River” seem to have become set staples you can count on seeing. More new”The Other Shore” songs were played too, “I Have Arrived” and “New Old City” among them. But maybe most interestingly was an Iron Maiden cover. MBD have done a Kickstarter on their last three albums where one thing you could do is pledge money to have them record a cover of a particular song. They haven’t released the latest covers album from the last Kickstarter yet but someone had them do Iron Maiden and this is the first time I’ve seen them play one of those covers live. And no, I apologize, I’m not familiar enough with Iron Maiden to tell exactly which song it was. We’ll have to wait for the covers album to find out.
It seemed like I was one of the few people who showed up solely because of MBD. The crowd was way into J Roddy Walston and the Business, screaming and singing along to songs I was totally unfamiliar with. J Roddy’s music seemed somewhere between the Black Crowes and Kings of Leon, not exactly my favorites. I’ll give them their due, they had the crowd going but weren’t really my thing right after seeing my favorite band. I gave them 30 minuets and then headed back to my car for the drive home.