Dead Sara At Amoeba, Tuesday July 24th 2018
Dead Sara is not a girl, but it’s a band fronted by a girl, Emily Armstrong, who has one of the most confident vocals of the moment. They did a short set at Amoeba last Tuesday, playing songs from their last EP, ‘Temporary Things Taking Up Space’, that they have just released at the beginning of last month.
Emily has a soulful and passionate voice, which soared in repeat and tore up above the catchy melodies of their new songs, that they played in a very settled down way, the four of them sitting on chairs. I remember seeing them at a street festival a few years ago, and they gave at the time a very stormy-trashy performance, which put them right away on my list of ‘bands to follow closely’. But Dead Sara, which is known for its raw, hard hitting and almost dirty sound, has calmed down a bit with this new collection of songs, and on Tuesday night, they had a much more restrained attitude, whereas the fury only came from Emily’s voice. She has a guttural and poignant howl, gritty enough to sing blues and hard rock and when they appropriately recorded ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ in 2013, Dave Grohl declared in an interview that ‘Dead Sara should be the next biggest rock band in the world.’
Surrounded by Siouxsie Medley on lead guitar, Sean Friday on drums, as well as another guitarist, Emily Armstrong looked nevertheless at ease on her chair, showing great confidence with this new batch of songs, which were often showing a sort of departure from their bluesy hard rock labeling.
They played all the songs of the EP, in a stripped down way, letting Emily’s acrobatic vocals shine, whereas, on the EP, they are wrapped by a layered synth instrumentation, producing a more direct pop vibe than in their previous work. However, you could still feel the storm and thunder surfacing below the apparent quietude of ‘Heaven’s Got a Back Door’, letting them going back to their harder edges.
Dead Sara have released a self-titled debut album in 2012, then a second album ‘Pleasure to Meet You’ in 2015, but this EP, which was produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, M83, and Air), is their first one on Atlantic Records, marking a new chapter for them. May be they want to make it big, like one of their songs says, may be it’s a natural evolution for a band, but it was good to recover the real untamed Dead Sara during a very unapologetic song with an in-your-face delivery… This EP needed a song like ‘Unamerican’ to wake up, as it turned to be the angriest and most political song of the set, performed by Emily Armstrong with her natural rawness and a middle-finger attitude, throwing a F-you Donald Trump in the middle of this very tense fuck-you raging gospel. This is what people expect from Dead Sara, and they should never forget about it.
What It Takes
One Day We’ll Make It Big
Heaven’s Got a Back Door
Times to Remember