Review and photos by Ellen Eldridge
The light sifted through heavy fog as Dead Confederate quietly took the stage. No dramatic rush on stage; the men just walked on, picked up their instruments and started playing. Quietly. The effect on the audience was the same as the attention brought on by whispering in a crowded area; conversations stopped and faces turned toward the group of grunge guys just jamming. A smell like perfume emanated from the fog as it absorbed the blue and orange lights. Dead Confederate fans might have expected an opening chord from one of the band’s more abrasive songs to cut through that dense atmosphere, but this minimal approach really drew the audience in and probably converted quite a few Black Rebel Motocycle Club fans into Dead Confederate fans as well.
The singles, “Start Me Laughing” and “The Rat,” from the first full-length album, Wrecking Ball didn’t receive as much acclaim from the Masquerade crowd as when guitarists started noodling around on the opening notes of “Wrecking Ball” and shouts sprung forth encouraging the band to play the song.
Watching singer/guitarist Hardy Morris thrash around on stage from behind his curtain of brown hair recalls Kurt Cobain. Maybe it was the sweater he chose to wear or the beaten-up Fender Telecaster he played, but that grunge spirit was undeniable in his actions. The fact that the band’s recent release, Sugar, plays to a happier and more pop-driven sound simply shows progression in the songwriters’ styles and fans of Dead Confederate can feel proud that these guys won’t sell out for some sense of success or because they recall certain other successful bands. These guys are in for the long-haul of grabbing attention by shouting with their first album and whispering to maintain that attention with the sophomore release. Almost ironically, Morris quietly thanks the crowd for “coming early” and assures “Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club will be coming right up,” then he leads the band in a hauntingly slow rendition of “Quiet Kid.”
Dead Confederate closed its show with the single from Sugar, “Giving It All Away” and conveyed well that sense of bond between those who struggle to create music and those who struggle to understand it.