January 21, 2011 - Rock ‘n’ Roll at its Finest

Tonight Dan’s Silverleaf was hosting quite an impressive show, with my two favorite bands, Trebuchet and Descender, on the show bill.

The Dead Twins were originally supposed to open the show, but had to cancel out for reasons unknown to me. So Dallas band, Sunward, ended up getting the opening slot. I was really looking forward to seeing them, as they’d made quite the impression after seeing them at the Kessler a few months back. But unfortunately I didn’t get to Denton till much later than what I’d planned, and subsequently had missed most of their set. I only caught the last 4 songs, but they were really good. Their music has more of a dreamy / fairytale sound to it. Whimsical, that’s the word to describe it.

Alright! The show kicked into high-gear next, when Descender took the stage. But not just the Descender I’m used to seeing, a new and improved one, in just about every aspect. Casey was wielding a new guitar (new in the sense that I’d never seen him use it at a Descender show). And the 2010 setlist, which I’d come to know so well that I knew exactly what to expect, was totally revamped. The show started with the four of them rocking out on their respective instrument for a couple minutes, eventually leading into their first song. It had apparently been a while since I’d seen Descender too, cause while the song sounded familiar, I couldn’t name it to save my life. Then Casey sang out one of the words which is also the title of the song, “…Armor…”. It was odd hearing this song first, since it used to be saved for the next to last, but it was really a good way to start the show. And if they are going to replace “Gunpowder…” as the opening number, “Armor” is the only contender for the opening song. The set did take a little more familiar turn next, as they cranked out “Hats Off” (which I was pleasantly surprised to hear) and “What Was Missing”. They took a short break, as Casey thanked the other bands, saying about Trebuchet, “They’re our Denton brothers, who we need to get to Dallas and get…”. He paused for a second to search for the right word, when a girl in the crowd gave him the answer. “SMASHED!” she yelled out. “Yes. That.” Casey replied. They then returned to the show, by taking things down a few notches, or at least they did for the first part of “Dark Water”, and kept the momentum going with “Gunpowder Drums”. Then did their latest addition, “Always Around”, and finished their 40 minute set with “Army of Elephants”. This was easily the best show I’ve seen Descender do. In large part due to the sound system at Dan’s, which made Casey’s voice sound crystal clear. So good in fact that I could understand almost every word he sang, unlike usual where it’s just some words here and there. And perhaps it was my imagination, but all of them, Duncan, Zack, Jeff, and Casey all seemed to radiate even more of a presence than they have before. They’re set to release their second EP at the legendary club, Trees, in Deep Ellum on March 3rd, so be sure to mark your calendars. And I have a real feeling these guys are going to be one of the bands to watch this year. Oh, and coincidently their EP release show is going to be the same day as my birthday. And really what better way to celebrate then by seeing one of my favorite current bands rocking out!

Last, but certainly not least, was Trebuchet, who was doing their first show in nearly three months. And I was in desperate need of a fix. They got their hour long set started at 12:14, with a little intro. It was someone talking, so I assume it was from a movie or TV show, but I really have no clue. And it (or more a continuation of it) was also used periodically throughout the entire show. After rocking out some chords on their instruments, Dustin finally started shredding away at the first song. A slightly re-imagined version of their song about zombies, tentatively titled “Cowboy Rick”. The only real difference was at the beginning, while Dustin was rocking it out, Keith added a bit of his guitar, for just a second here and there. I never would’ve thought they could improve on this song, but I apparently was wrong. I still say that song is a hell of a way to get their shows going, and it only got better when Bobby slowed the drum beat down and rolled it right into “Black Beard”. They even changed this one up a bit, at the end when the lyrics are done Justin always straps his guitar on and joins in. But not this time, instead he just paced around. Not that it made much of a difference in the song, at least none that I could hear, it just surprised me a little was all. When it was over though he did get his guitar, which he used for the next several songs. And the next song kind of threw me a bit. It didn’t at all sound like an original, in comparison to their other material, so I assumed it was a cover. But much later in the set Justin said something about “…All the new material we’ve been unloading this show.” Which made me think it might be an original. Either way I really liked it, and it a little more main stream rock sound then their other tunes. “An Ominous Ode to the Hills Part 1” came next, and after it there was a pause just long enough for Bobby to change drumsticks, before they exploded into “An Ominous Ode to the Hills Part 2”. They did one more older song, “Ego Trip” complete with the instrumental ending, before letting loose three more new ones. One, maybe two of which I remembered hearing before. And all pretty good. Their set was nearing the end, as Justin announced they had two songs left, one of which was of course “Intelligent Design”. It ended and then they followed it with an instrumental song. This seemed to be the end, as the crowd applauded the sound guy turned the lights on and asked everyone to give it up again for all the bands. “Uhh… I think we have one more.” said Justin. The lights went back out, and people, including myself, started shouting the names of songs. Of course it didn’t matter though, as they already knew what they were going to play. It ended up being another new tune, one that I believe Justin said had never been played before. And if that is right, then I must ask, why the hell not? What ensued was about the most intense Trebuchet song I’ve heard, and just after this one listen I’d rank it my 3rd favorite song of theirs. It was incredible! A good closing song, but I also think it could be used to open shows. This was the best show I’ve seen these guys do in upwards of a year, and probably one of the best all together. I mentioned the sound system when talking about Descender, and it of course was no different for Trebuchet. Justin’s voice sounded phenomenal, even better than listening to the CD’s. And I’ve never seen the band so with it, which is saying a lot cause they never disappoint. Near the end of the show they said they would be getting the new music out soon, but they have been saying that for awhile. Really, I won’t believe it until it happens, but I know all the delays have only been in the interest of the final product being the best it can possible be. So keep your eyes peeled for new tracks and more shows, the next of which is set to go down on Thursday Feb. 3rd at the City Tavern in Downtown Dallas.

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