Band of Skulls: Not what you’d expect

by Nick Black

Last Thursday, I saw a band that I knew very little about—a decision that can sometimes end badly. In fact, I’m a little ashamed to say, I only discovered them the day before the show. They call themselves Band of Skulls. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but don’t let the name throw you off (it made me think of an eighties revival hair metal band). This is not what they are at all.

Describing their sound is difficult, due to their total eclecticism: Each song appears to have a different influence, and each has its own appeal. The first few songs on the album are hard hitting, raw rock (think Black Keys), but from there each song seems to take a tour in its own, completely different musical landscape.

So, I stumbled upon this band only 24 hours from the show. A friend had lent me the album, and after listening to it all day, I could not miss an opportunity to see them live. As far as their live performance goes, I’m not sure where to start.

During this day in age, when rock music seems to be forgotten in the squeaky vocals of the latest radio-bound band, it is refreshing to see bands like The Dead Weather and Band of Skulls; rockers that put all their passion into their music and express it in a live performance. People always say that crowd interaction is important in a live band. You know: the banter that Wayne Coyne has perfected. For me, more than the interaction with the crowd, I need to see passion from the players—a sense that they are into what they are playing. Having said that, Band of Skulls was adept at this. They oozed rock and passion. Each song they played did not sound exactly like the album; they let the music take them where it would, as if they were simply transmitting something beyond their control.

I almost wish I had something bad to say. I assume my readers, if there are any, must be getting annoyed with me constantly praising the bands I see. Truth be told, I haven’t seen a bad show in a while; they simply seem to be getting better and better. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t been to a show that I knew I wouldn’t like in a while; at least not since Ben Harper at Deer Lake Park. Perhaps I’ll write an angry retrospective sometime. Until then, get over it.

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