SXSW 2013: Death @ TenOak Metrotimes Detroit Blowout Showcase 03.14

Posted March 15, 2013 in

Legendary proto-punks Death played a once-in-a-lifetime set. Photo: Alexander Ortega

Most memorable moment?
The whole thing. At first, I as kind of nervous that I had uncovered a revival of the METAL band, Death, with someone blaspheming the name of Chuck Schuldiner, an imposter. I saw some young bucks setting up onstage, too, and I was afraid that there would only be one of the original dudes—their original guitarist, David Hackney, died in 2000, so I didn't know what to expect …

But it was Death. It was the protopunk band, one of the driving forces in rock n' roll history. And they killed it. The remaining Hackney brothers were right on spot in the rhythm section, and they had two guitarists; the lead guitarist is Lambsbread guitarist Bobbie Duncan, and a younger, unknown gentleman rockin' a Detroit fitted cap. Duncan gave that cream-colored Strat some buttered-up licks while frontman/singer/bassist Bobby Hackney interceded the classic Death songs with meaty bass, and created magic and positive vibes for their whole set. As Bobby said at various times during their set, this was music straight out of 1975, and I felt like I was transported there.
If you could make out with any instrument being played on stage, which one and why?
Duncan's Strat. For some reason, whenever I see a cream-colored Fender, I just drool. Duncan treated her right, though, and performed guitar porn on that mama, throwing down funk- and blues-informed riffs into this Motown rock n' roll sound.
What bar would this band hang out in SLC?
Bar X. Watch out, Joshua Payne Orchestra, because if Death comes to town, they're bringing their soulful rock n' roll to that joint and bringing the house down. Death's music is punk rock, but it's not raucous in the way that Dead Boys were—they inspired me to gyrate and to shake my shoulders at the front of the stage, not getting to crazy, but just moving with the grooves that they created.
If you could bite someone's clothing style, whose getup would you steal?
Dannis Hackney's (drums). That dude was rocking a red top hat, red, sparkly tie over a black button-up shirt and red pants. He busted out a mad drum solo to boot, which made his clothes seem even more snazzy. His beat-keeping kept the whole band in sync as the light glinted off his tie.
Did the music make you want to mosh, close your eyes and sway, or something in between?
Whoa nelly, these jams had me wanting to just dance it out! I was caught in between wanting to bust out some Soul Train moves and doing my best Elaine dance. Bobby's bass-playing style is of the thumpin' variety, as his plucking fingers moved deftly and powerfully to create a bouncy rhythm throughout the evening. Death manifested a burst of energy into my psyche, the aftermath being a huge, deathly grin.
Death is making a new album, too, and it's called Relief. I can't wait.
Legendary proto-punks Death played a once-in-a-lifetime set. Photo: Alexander Ortega