Smile Politely

Nebraska: murdered by dead zones

If the near loss of the Red Herring restaurant earlier this year didn’t bother you, consider this:

tomorrow, Murder By Death comes to headline the Canopy Club,

a good nine years after playing one of their first shows at the Channing Murray’s vegan landmark. The noir-inspired band is more popular than ever and on the eve of an impressive 1000th show.

Adam Turla (vocals, guitar) entertained the idea of playing the upcoming Ann Arbor event “in tuxedos with lots of balloons,” while riding a tour bus through Nebraska on the way to an Omaha show. Having traveled through the barren state myself, I wasn’t surprised when it became difficult to make out his deep baritone on the other line. His vision was undoubtedly filled with hard tundra and a few chicken farms. The connection cut abruptly.


Smile Politely: Adam?

Adam Turla: Yeah, I’m Here.

SP: Nebraska?

AT: Yeah …

It has been exactly a year since Murder By Death released Red of Tooth and Claw on Vagrant. The album is full of strongly delivered tension and frighteningly good lyrics — for some reason I always feel I should be driving down Route 66 with a thundercloud behind me while listening.

The band has yet to conjure up a far-reaching fan base; the Midwest, however, is all ears. This begged the question: “Why are you spending five days of your tour playing the US Virgin Islands?” Turla laughed and sighed, “It’s going to be hilarious.” Hell, I think any band would play a beach bar for five days if asked (seriously, the venue is called “The Beach Bar”).

Nebraska struck again, refusing to allow a cell phone connection in its no-man’s-land. At this point I wished Turla had just gotten the Verizon Network, as he would have 50 people frantically chasing him down the highway making sure his coverage stayed strong. Unfortunately, it was Murder by Dead Zone, and the interview was no more.

I might have called again if I didn’t know I could hear that excellent voice again on Saturday, ringing through the Canopy Club. Be sure to check out this band, at least as proof of what organizing small local shows in a church basement can produce.

You can hear Turla’s excellent voice (and see the band too) for free! Click here to find out how to win tickets to Saturday’s show.

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