Murder by Death / This Providence - live in Levittown (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Murder by Death / This Providence

live in Levittown (2006)

live show

Ho-ly shit. I pulled into a parking lot with plenty of space, which led me to believe that the Hush Sound's headlining tour had turned a modest draw here at Club Ritual in Levittown, NY, a spot finding many repeat visits by myself this past year. But when I walked into the venue, my eyes fell upon the cold, inhibiting gazes of over a hundred 16-year-old girls (and a few of their male counterparts, of course); I felt sort of nauseous. Then it hit me: Decaydence Records...MTVU claiming similarities to Panic! at the Disco...fuck.

Thus, I wasn't getting anywhere near the stage for Murder by Death. But at least this wouldn't be a complaint for another band or so.

This Is Me Smiling played dorky indie-power-pop stuff for, by the time I got there, a song and a half. It wasn't terrible or anything, but I could think of a few better openers that would've fit the bill just as well.

Now, This Providence is a band I found doing an otherwise repulsive, oversaturated genre some fair justice on their first full-length, Our Worlds Divorce. Unfortunately, the followup, This Providence seemed to conform a little sternly to the styles of their new label, Fueled by Ramen. Too bad that's the band's main audience, now; out of the eight songs they played for their set, seven came from the newer album. Ugh. Besides musical similarities, This Providence even looked like they share members with their labelmates, which came as shocking to me for some reason. They played decently enough, but the Gatsbys-esque riffs were some of the only things keeping me sane. Even one or two more songs from Our Worlds Divorce would've sedated my outrage, but alas... In any event, the crowd unsurprisingly loved every second.

Set list:

  1. Secret Love and the Fastest Way to Loneliness

  2. -----
  3. Card House Dreamer

  4. -----
  5. An Ocean Between

  6. -----
  7. The Road to Jericho Is Lined with Starving People

  8. -----
  9. My Beautiful Rescue

  10. -----
  11. Walking on Water
  12. Well Versed in the Ways of the World

  13. -----
  14. A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
What a horrible, horrible tour for Murder by Death, something even the band inherently knew as they romped through their alt-country / indie rock stomps, led by Adam Turla's ghost-of-Johnny-Cash inflection. Turla was his usual dry self, beginning things by simply stating "We're a rock'n'roll band," probably to the dismay of the vast majority of the audience. The set, while played well and with the occasional welcomed explosion of dynamics from both Turla's voice and the four-piece's instruments, hardly stirred a reaction from the crowd. One particular group of girls in front of me danced awkwardly to feign interest when they weren't busy taking pictures of each other on a Sidekick. Sweet! I actually would've preferred the band play more from their recent/fantastic In Bocca al Lupo, but I also hadn't seen them for three years, so hearing those old cuts from Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them? and beyond was ace too.

Set list (7:50-8:23):
  1. The Desert Is on Fire
  2. Boy Decide

  3. -----
  4. A Masters in Reverse Psychology

  5. -----
  6. Sometimes the Line Walks You

  7. -----
  8. I'm Afraid of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe

  9. -----
  10. One More Notch
  11. Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue

  12. -----
  13. Brother

  14. -----
  15. instrumental
While the set itself was fine, I couldn't help but feel a little robbed. Maybe this is one of the reasons Murder by Death is so underrated, playing 33-minute support slots for crowds nearly impossible to win over. Even the mind-blowing, ten-plus-minute medley they used to close even their opening sets with was pared down to a mere three or four minutes here. Also, it would've been nice to have at least one person join me in humble, reserved sing-alongs, but maybe my chances will fare better on an upcoming run with Reverend Horton Heat, or even on the tour with fellow Eyeball alum Thursday.