Dead Country at Velvet Jones

S.B. Rooted Rockers Return Home, Score Big

It didn’t take much more than two minutes before the skittish crowd at Velvet Jones was lured towards the front of the stage by Dead Country’s polished, gritty sound last Thursday night.

Live shows can be unpredictable. All too many times have I gone to a show, expecting to hear what I heard on the band’s latest album, only to be caught in the middle of slowly sinking ship of terribly performed renditions of my favorite songs. Luckily for Dead Country fans, quality need not be sacrificed at the expense of concert performance. Rather, their vigorous show only further solidifies their fast growing presence on the modern rock scene.

Dead Country’s combination of ‘90s hard-edged indie rock and modern punk provided Santa Barbara locals every reason to launch into full-fledged head-bobbing and scream-singing fits. When the band started into their newest single, “Boring Love,” the initially timid crowd began to stomp along with the vibrating combination of Patrick Solem’s rich bass and the pulsating hammer of Jarrod Alexander’s drum work.

If it’s not already obvious how stunning this Los Angeles quartet sounds based on the attention generated from their first EP, let me assure you that their live performance picks where the recording leaves off, and soars beyond your wildest punk rock expectations. On Thursday, uninhibited performance gave way to a bass-heavy, Jawbreaker-meets-Sex Pistols grittiness. S.B. native Johnny Black contributed a steady stream of relentless guitar work on numbers like “Euro Trash” and “The Shade,” and proved himself an essential and driving force in the band’s overall chugging tempo. Coupled with frontman, Nick Long’s effortless vocal arrangements, the band’s roaring culmination of hard-hitting drums, raw guitars, and thumping amounts of bass is, quite simply, ideal music to rock out to.

Thanks to the success of their first four-song EP (which scored the band spins on L.A.’s world famous KROQ, as well as our own KjEE), Dead Country is now hard as work on their first full-length album. For those fans eager to hear where this band takes their sound in the future, I say expect nothing short of big things from these four.


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