The Murder City Devils
December 22, 2012
The world didn't end last Friday, and as a result The Observatory got to party with The Murder City Devils. Though the band reunited back in 2006 after a five-year hiatus, live shows have been few and far between in recent years, and Santa Ana was lucky enough to be part of a short three-day-long California jaunt this weekend.
While others embarked on holiday destinations, a packed house welcomed the garage punk six-piece on Saturday night, ready to let lose one last time before the year's end. And though it was only the band's third performance since February of 2012, the members played as tight and precise as ever. Beginning with the raucous “Murder City Riot,” off their self-titled 1997 debut, the sextet hit the ground running and quickly set the tone for the rest of the night.
Though vocalist Spencer Moody has mellowed out a bit in the past few years, he still possesses that raw, frenetic energy that's made The Murder City Devils' live shows legendary. With a throat that still elicits guttural screams and raspy croons, the singer never stayed in one place for long, opting to spend his time standing atop a row of speakers on the stage's edge, occasionally mouthing the microphone while his arms stayed at his sides or flipping the mike stand as he wailed.
As the band tore through selections from their entire discography, the crowd gradually became more enthralled. While most of the attendees stood on the higher tiers of the venue's floor plan, a select few braved the pit, and by the time the doom-punkers played “idle Hands,” bottles weren't the only things airborne as fans formed circle pits and jumped from the higher decks in attempts to crowd surf up to the stage. The band members fed off this energy, trying to one-up it by flailing and thrashing on the stage.
Even though the nearly 20-song set list incorporated many tracks off the group's older albums, the band took this night as an opportunity to play new material as well, namely the newest single, “Every Day I Rise,” which the crowd embraced with the sounds of cheers.
By the time The Murder City Devils geared up for their last song, Moody took a chance to thank his fans and apologize for a certain lack of interaction. “Sometimes I don't say that much because I don't know what to say,” he explained, “but I do know to say thank you very much and I hope you have a nice time tonight and go home and continue to have a nice time.” The crowd erupted as the singer finished his speech and dove into the new single's b-side, “Ball Busters In The Peanut Gallery.” Though the majority of the band's set list choices teetered on the harder side, this mellow track was the ideal way to calm the crowd before sending it off, and made us all eager to hear more new material from those Seattle-based Devils.
Critical Bias: Spencer Moody is one damn good frontman
The Crowd: Southern California's more “matured” punk rockers
Random Notebook Dump: Any time you see cops parked outside a venue, you know you're in for a good show.