Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats Brought An Old-School Sound A Fresh New Twist At Trees.

Styles come in and out of fashion in rock and roll.

The early 2000s, for instance, were plagued with bands that wanted play simpler songs without solos — y’know, so as to “better serve the song.” Then, in response to that trend, bands bucked back and started incorporating more and more complex musicianship into their writing. All of a sudden, shifting time signatures and wild solos were commonplace once more.

It’s all very cyclical.

Last night’s Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats show at Trees — preceded earlier in the night by an in-store signing sessions from the band at Good Records — too served as an example of this with the whole night feeling like a time machine venture to the late 1970s and early 1980s — and not just onstage, either. The crowd that slowly filled the venue as the night went on was filled with dudes rocking long hair, porn ‘staches and jean vests. And there was more than a few ladies sporting bell bottoms, too. It was a fun thing to see, especially considering how all three bands on the bill were intent on calling back to an era that came before many in the crowd were even born.

First up was The Shrine. Their fast, loud, and eclectic sound, coupled with frontman Josh Landau’s charismatic banter, quickly made the criminally small crowd pay attention as they made their way through the set list. Portland’s Danava followed suit with a flashy offering of their own; with its band members rocking Maiden shirts and studded belts, they band quite literally wore its influences on its sleeves. And, man, did their guitar acrobatics and righteous riffs impress. Despite some minor tech issues at the beginning of Danava’s set, the band’s mastery of its instruments won over the crowd, which loudly cheered on their efforts. Theirs was a set that begged for a bigger stage showcase soon — a plateau that this band seems destined to reach.

Still, this night was all about the headliners. And they didn’t disappoint.

On disc, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats has always sounded like an ethereal soundtrack to a slasher movie that’s only available on grainy VHS. Live, though, the old-school horror vibe — thanks to a creepy moon backdrop hanging behind the band — is less pronounced. Instead, the band’s set, which featured cuts from each of the band’s four studio LPs, was heavy on the extended jams breaks, with little banter in between to lighten the mood. The whole thing had a very psychedelic, prog vibe. Although a little different than expected, it was still a top-notch display, with the band rocking out and effortlessly playing deliciously intricate melodies and solos.

There was no doubt that the bands on this bill were riffing on the theatricality of power metal pioneered by greats like Black Sabbath and Motorhead. But the skill through which these acts did so kept it from feeling like a retread. Rather, last night’s showcase was a case study on how an amalgamation of familiar styles and sounds can still sound fresh.

In other words: It fucking rocked.

All photos by Karlo X. Ramos.
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