Murder by Death have spent the better part of the last 17 years honing their unique narrative and atmospheric mix of alt-country, Americana, and brooding gothic indie rock over the course of seven albums and countless miles on the road touring. Earlier this year, the seasoned storytellers delivered The Other Shore, their eighth album, and the follow-up to 2015’s Big Dark Love. Released via Bloodshot Records, The Other Shore is a conceptual piece that is billed as a space-western that centers around a dying earth, the fleeing populace, and a relationship in the middle of it all. With the ambitious new album garnering a positive reaction from fans and critics, Murder By Death have returned to the road with a fall headlining tour that recently stopped at Motorco Music Hall in Durham NC.
With the remnants of Hurricane Michael passing through North Carolina the travel was treacherous, but Murder By Death and opening act Tim Barry managed to navigate torrential rain and tropical storm force winds in order to make it to Durham for the show. Luckily for the eager fans in attendance, the storm had passed a few hours before showtime, making their trek to the venue far less adventurous. Despite the white-knuckle travel conditions, Murder By Death showed no signs of fatigue when the took the stage and kicked off their set with “Alas,” the opening track from The Other Shore. While the set was focused on new songs like, “Space,” “Last Night on Earth,” and “Chasing Ghosts,” the new material was spread out amongst crowd favorites pulled from across their catalog. The world-weary baritone vocals and guitar of frontman Adam Turla effectively combined with the cinematic instrumentation provided by bandmates Sarah Balliet on cello, Tyler Morse on bass, Dagan Thogerson behind the drums, and multi-instrumentalist David Fountain filling out the sound with Piano, Percussion, Mandolin, and Backup vocals. The connection and energy between the band and their exceedingly dedicated fanbase was palpable. The audience was packed in tightly around the front of the stage, greeting each new song with rabid cheering, fist pumps, and singalongs. By the time Murder by Death closed out their set with the roaring “I’m Coming Home,” it was certain that no one would be leaving unsatisfied.
Richmond Virginia-based singer-songwriter Tim Barry opened the show. Armed only with an acoustic guitar, Barry was a charismatic force onstage holding the crowd’s attention with a combination of folk-rock and punk attitude with an earnest self-depreciating wit.