Murder by Death / Fake Problems - live in Charleston (Cover Artwork)

Murder by Death / Fake Problems

live in Charleston (2011)

live show

March 11, 2011 was a rare day that Charleston had a show down in Folly Beach at a little venue called the Oasis, so knowing I'd suffer a bit the next day I got off my ass and went to the show. Sunday night shows are usually a mix of diehard fans and drunks, and I think there was a fair share of the latter in attendance. The Oasis is a small venue with a fully stocked half-bar, a couple of pool tables and a decent floor/stage area on the side. I saw Street Dogs and Sick of It All play there last year and thought the walls were gonna come down.

Buried Beds started off the set and set the bar really high after just a few songs. Having only heard a few songs stream on the internet, I didn't quite know what to expect. Hailing from Philadelphia, this band put on the best performance of the night, and really made me question how I feel about punk these days. Male/female trading lead vocals, harmonies that were ethereal in nature, violins and a percussion section all combining in a brilliant display of musicianship and talent that had me closing my eyes to focus on the sound. The synchronicity the band brings to the table was something only few bands can achieve, and was accomplished with grace and precision. Their sound was an indie/folk rock one that had a lot in common with some of the Beatles' acoustic numbers. I immediately picked up their album, Tremble the Sails, afterwards, and have listened to it almost every day since. I guess the drummer was a temporary replacement, which is unfortunate 'cause he brought an element of balance, structure and power to the music I've rarely seen.

After a brief breakdown and a short sound check, Fake Problems began their turn, and after what I saw I'm probably not going to be listening to them again any time soon. Theirs is a problem common to many bands these days, where a professional recording is able to mask some serious issues. I had downloaded It's Great to Be Alive a couple weeks prior, and was really having some issues with the singer's vocal delivery. The scratchy southern drawl you hear on the records is really only a cover-up of a really weak, nasally vocal that after a few songs my ears would no longer accept. The drummer and guitarist got something going on, and made it bearable, but they need to feed their hairless, little man troll singer some more beer and cigarettes so that raspiness can be authentic. The set kept getting slowed up so he could procure Jello shots that two portly women up front bought for him, and by the time they got off stage being a chased by some dude in a gorilla suit, I was glad the monkey show was over.

Murder by Death was up next, much to my relief, and I had to get a whiskey to get my nerves back under control, even though I had a bit of a drive up ahead. They busted into a heavy rendition of "As Long as There Is Whiskey" off their most recent album, Good Morning Magpie, and beers and bodies started flying around. They played a few more songs off this album, and the crowd was losing their shit, making mindless attempts to crowd-surf the 40 or so people, which singer Adam Turla commended as sarcastically as he could. Things started getting fishy a song or two later, when the rest of the band departed and Turla played "Shiola" by his lonesome. Some dude in a white T-shirt flew across the stage and dove off, knocking about five of his buddies down, and further pissed off one of the Jello shot-providing girls who just HAD to be up front, but could not be bumped into by any means. As soon as the next song started, he goes side-stage again to pull off his little stunt, and knocked two scene girls over in the process. As soon as his feet touched the stage, one of them had pulled him back off and onto the ground, and staff soon thereafter had him out the front door. At this point, I don't even know what song was being played, but in comes the numb nuts through the "Band Members Only" door, with his shirt off–which really fooled everybody for about two seconds. Out he goes again.

The sound guy pipes up after the song, saying something about the cops insisting they shut down the show, and after much deliberation, Turla, who was in disbelief, announced the last song as "Fuck You Fuckin' Cunts for Shutting Down the Show". It sounded a lot like "Comin' Home" off of Red of Tooth and Claw.

Was it worth the trip? Hell yeah, but the Oasis need to get some fucking security worth its salt and have the balls to stand up to the cops when they have to eject someone from the show. Murder by Death had at least five more songs left in 'em, and as rare as it is for good bands to come down here, I think their first time here will also be their last.