THE DED ARE RISING – ANOTHER ROCK RAPTURE BY A BAND FROM PHOENIX
Canton Hall – Dallas, TX – 24 February 2018
Grabbing my camera, lenses, gum, audio recorder, pen, lighter, and keys while walking out the door for a busy night in Deep Ellum, I realized that tonight was going to be massive as that wave of excitement or nervousness spilled out from my head down to my toes. It was going to be a whirlwind of a night as I officially covered two bands at two different venues down the street from each other, while seeing two other bands that made my Rock-N-Roll Meter blast off the chain like one of those carnival games you whack with the big ass hammer, the night looked like this:
- Interviewing DED, a band that I saw last year break all kinds of barriers on stage at ROCKLAHOMA to over 40,000 fans right before the show was shut down for a tornado (I’m still not convinced they didn’t stir up the atmospheric pressure to cause that weather),
- Going to go see another band at another venue that played before doors at Canton Hall – that I literally almost threw up immediately upon hearing their single “Heart So Cold”. The band THE DAMN TRUTH from Montreal, Canada was in town and playing an early show,
- then, ISLANDER who I saw with HE IS LEGEND last summer in a teeny-tiny club here in Deep Ellum, where I thought I’d lost 4 lbs. from the booming drops that shook me to the core in that place. I mean, I could have been deaf, and I would still become a FFL based off the vibrations and flailing energetic stage performance,
- And last but certainly not least, P.O.D. was going to close down the night with their primo brand of San D-Cali, nu-metal that is more than relevant. It’s new, fresh, full of bounce, and so much fun to be a part of live.
Yes, my Lovelies, this night was sure to go down in the records as one of those nights that in 10 years I will talk about it and refer to the time frame as being “back in the day, not back in the day-day, but the last ‘in the day’ day”.
I arrived at the venue for the interview with DED, watching the busy band bees run in and out of the hive of Canton Hall. This would be the first show here at the newest joint in Deep Ellum. The proprietors aren’t strangers to running rock ships and well-oiled machines. They are the owners of Trees and The Bomb Factory here in Deep Ellum and designed and created Canton Hall specifically for nights like tonight. This venue is impressively roomy, has a kick-ass sound system, and a state of the art light system that could talk to aliens if the building didn’t have a roof. It was packed, but people were able to move around with ease. I can’t stand having to smash myself into strangers trying to get around in a bar that oversold the door or is just too small for the night in the first place.
Why is it that people don’t get out of the way in packed places like a club or event where there’s a ton of people? I swear to baby Zeus, it is taxing to work your way to the bathroom when people just don’t give a crap about moving slightly to the left, right, or front or back so that people can pass by. What is that? I feel so bad if I’m standing in the walkway or in a path that could be traveled by someone. It’s rude. And don’t even get me started about the people that anchor themselves to the floor in the middle of said path, just because and they become instantly deaf, are either dumb or forgot how to speak English, completely ignoring your existence, as you say, “excuse me”. Yarrr, that is so annoying and makes me an angry pirate inside.
The interview with DED went well, standing in what I’m referring to as “The Trailer Of Silence”, their actual trailer where their whole show resides between cities. Chatting in there reduced the noise on the audio, made sure that we wouldn’t get accosted by people, it was also where I could have been met with a baby seal’s fate, prior to 1983 of course, had the interview not been up to par with the DED gentlemen. I survived, I’m writing this after the fact, so I guess it went pretty well. You’ll have to wait for this riveting piece of journalistic material, though. Our chat is for another time, I’m afraid. This assignment is only for the show review, but I do encourage you to look for the interview link when it’s published on AntiHero Magazine.
Ok, now, where was I? Two very talented bands from Dallas, got everyone in gear for the big rock show; LAST DAY LIVING and ADAKAIN. Both bands had a large crowd to play to – it’s a crapshoot, at times – sometimes there are not many people til the headliner or last two bands. This Saturday was a little different. Dallas had been under cloudy, rainy, flash-flooding skies for the prior five days. In fact, I drove that morning to a volleyball tournament in torrential rain and I thought my car was Jesus because it was driving on the top of the water.
But – welcome to Texas, the weather changes almost as fast as a liberal during an election year. Wa-laa, 7 hours later, the sky is blue, the sun is setting spraying the most brilliant orange and yellow spray-painted sky! The woodwork opened, people came out in droves to enjoy a little break in the rain.
One thing I love about the boys in DED, is their sense of humor and their ability to use it to pacify me with the curious questions I asked them. I also like that their music reflects their personalities. The lyrics challenge some of their own imps and demons but in a way that doesn’t demand a brooding sense of self. Their latest record that came out last July, “Mis.An.Thrope” (Suretone Records) takes social sentiments that any listener can relate to by wrapping them up in a nice package that is reopened a little differently every time you play it. “Hate Me” is the single that is out now, and it’s got that way of sticking to you like the orange dust from Cheetos sticks to your fingers. “Hate Me”, “Remember The Enemy”, “Anti-Everything” and “FMFY” are champions in my playlist.
Here’s the setlist from the show in Dallas (thanks, Ded Nation member Chris for helping me out!):
- I Exist
- Dead to Me
- Hate Me
In an unconventional way, I saw the band live first instead of hearing their record. This is a perfect piece of that coveted formula that some artists seek out like the Holy Grail. If you can land a FFL first from seeing you live, chances are pretty good that they’ll purchase your record. At least for me, if a band is THAT good the first time you see them that a. you remember the feeling you had when watching, b. Immediately pre-order the record or buy it if it has already released, c. go buy their merch directly after their set – your pretty set. Doing this for more than a bar or small-sized venue is cool and honorable, for sure. But doing it for 40,000 fans at a major rock festival is another thing altogether. DED did that last summer.
Seeing them almost nine months later, I want to compare it to a cocoon that hangs in a tree – is it a moth or is it a butterfly? For the sake of this babbling, let’s just say that the cocoon of a moth and a butterfly look virtually the same. I don’t know if they do or not, I’m just guessing that they do because it’s what’s inside of that odd little pouch that is so amazing. If DED could bring it like they did the first time I saw them, they would be the Monarch; colorful, glorious, and purposeful with their ability to fly. If they fell short, well, they could still fly but they wouldn’t have bright colors or wouldn’t be as glorious as the butterfly. Even though the moth has a purpose, and I’m not saying anything terrible about the moth (except that dust that is on their wings, what is that stuff? I don’t like it…it scares me. I mean is it the dust that eats your clothes or do moths have teeth?? Woah – now that is a question for another time, right? I’m fighting the urge as I rapidly type this, to not go to Google to find out…).
Look, the butterfly is pretty and if DED came out swinging like how we saw them light it up at ROCKLAHOMA, they’d be like the butterfly. Ya feel me? Pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?
Y’all know that I’m not into criticizing artists for the purpose of a review. I just have no place to do so, like who am I to review the art of another human and then negatively say things. My reviews are about making deeper connections with music from our favorite artists – old and new, ya know? For those of you that are familiar with DED’s live show, you’ll understand that the energy they bring to their show is high voltage, powerful stuff. There is movement, there are elements of theatrics, and of course, there is the music they perform that melts right into the whole mixture.
The current that was evident in the air last Saturday night, as fans are screaming, singing, jumping, and movement in the pit that emulates buzzards circling over a dead animal in the road comes directly from the four in DED on stage. The audience in Dallas was really receptive to DED and there were a bunch of people I spoke to that had heard a song on the radio, but hadn’t seen them live, that loved their set.
And of course, the audience went nuts when Sonny Sandoval, the frontman for P.O.D. came out and did a song towards the end DED’s set. It was fun to see Sonny having such a killer time with all the bands on this tour. What I love also about this show bill, there are three bands that are so very similar when you listen to them back to back – but DED is coined as Fresh Metal, ISLANDER is described as nu-metal and post-hardcore (probably because of those insane lows backed up with the drops that kind of twists their style a little bit off the nu-metal mark), then you have P.O.D. who have taken their style of reggae rap-rock to a higher level by inserting a true love and need for what they do and create. P.O.D. started something back in 1992 (ya, that’s 26 years ago Pretties…let that giggle and wiggle in your brains…) that has inspired countless bands and musicians. What could have very easily been a fly-by-night trend or a brief stint of mainstream success in ‘92 has become just the opposite for P.O.D. They are sickly talented and personally, their songs from back in the day are still relevant now.
For me, this line up ruled! It was nonstop energy right from the start of DED’s set. Even the openers contributed to the success and overall good vibe of the whole show and after it was over, I was physically drained. I was walking home with Jello legs like I’d just ran a 5K (and y’all freakin’ know I do not run unless chased), my back hurt, my arms hurt but my mind was full of songs, notes, chords, and tempos that were replaying in my brain from that show.
I also realized after coming in the door to the loft, that what I just witnessed in the performance of these bands was the energy that was exactly the same pulse as what was coming from my own energy. That what is in my spiritual and physical being was the same vibrations as what I felt at the show. And man alive – isn’t that what life is supposed to do for us? Feel and be connected to the things that make us happy, angry, solemn, sad, and confused. That is what music is in relation to my purpose; to fuse these emotions and ties to other people to create those bonds…there is nothing more fulfilling than that.
Til Next Time – MRML