Dead Men Rocking
If you haven’t yet caught a show at the Double E Performance Center at the Essex Experience, you need to get on that. Last Friday, Miriam Bernardo and co. rocked the T-Rex Theater during the singer’s much-anticipated Songs From the Well album release show. In terms of sound quality — not to mention its dynamic lighting and beautiful cosmic backdrop — the room ranks exceedingly high, locally speaking. Screw that — it ranks high, period.
One of the best reasons yet to check out the movie-theater-turned-concert-hall arrives on Saturday, October 19: Death. The legendary Vermont-by-way-of-Detroit rock band reunites for a special set, preceded by a screening of Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett‘s 2012 documentary feature A Band Called Death, plus a Q&A with founding band members Bobby Hackney and Dannis Hackney and guitarist Bobbie Duncan.
In case you aren’t hip to the Death saga, here’s a quickie primer: In 1970s Detroit, brothers Bobby, Dannis and David Hackney (who died in 2000) formed rock band Death. After a few brushes with fame and success, the group disbanded, and the brothers Hackney moved to Vermont to settle down — Bobby and Dannis would go on to form the popular local reggae band Lambsbread. Years later, Bobby’s kids, Urian, Julian and Bobby Jr., discovered the forgotten Death music and formed their own group, Rough Francis, to pay tribute.
For years, collectors had viewed Death’s long-lost record …For the Whole World to See as something of a Holy Grail or missing link in the evolution of punk music. When record label Drag City reissued the disc in 2009, critics rejoiced and music journalists swarmed. The doc came a few years later.
“They really did our story justice,” Bobby Sr. says by phone.
This week’s show marks Death’s first local performances since the end of 2016, when they played both the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts MainStage and punk club 242 Main’s massive, bittersweet farewell party.
The level of interest and support from fans still blows Bobby Sr.’s mind on a regular basis.
“First of all, we never thought it would be such a continuing thing,” he says. “We still get emails that pour in every week from people who’ve just discovered [us].”
He notes that the event may be the most in-depth and personal show the group has ever performed in Vermont. Expect to hear the classics, plus some new tunes and “a couple of surprises.” Oh, and fear not: Dancing or moshing of some kind is allowed, even though the venue is generally more of a sit-down affair.
“It’s gonna be a rock-and-roll good time,” Bobby says. “We plan to just blow it up.”
In other Death news, the flick receives its most prestigious screening to date on January 23 — at the freaking Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.! That’s some historic ish right there.Seven Seven Day’s Soundbites