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Dead Sara • Let Rock Reign

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The day was inching forward to what was eventually to be the highlight of my trip. Though I had only seen various Dead Sara YouTube videos over the last year, I intended to buy the album there at the Bunbury Music Festival at the merch tent so that they were going to get my scratch directly. Perhaps if I was lucky there would be a meet and greet after the performance. Dead Sara was on the bill Friday July 11th at the Festival on the Warsteiner Stage at 8 pm.

“…These songs were exhilarating, fresh, cool, rocking…”

What would you think if you read this, “Dead Sara was first featured on FUSE NEWS on 3/20/13 in which Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters commented that “Dead Sara should be the next biggest rock band in the world.” Dead Sara is a group out of Los Angeles that formed when Lead Singer/Rhythm Guitarist Emily Armstrong and Lead Guitarist Siouxsie Medley met through mutual friend Diva Gustafsson at ages 16 and 15 respectively. The line-up was completed with the addition of Sean Friday and Chris Null in 2009.

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They opened with two songs off their debut album, “Sorry For It All” and “Test On My Patience”. The next six songs they appear to be testing out live for their upcoming album that has no release date thus far. The only two they said by name were “Mona Lisa” and the song “Mr. Mr.” I saw a hand written set list on the net and the other songs had the words “Suicidal”, “Evil”, “Something Good”, and “Monumental”. Whether these are complete song titles or partials must be taken into account at this time. These songs were exhilarating, fresh, cool, rocking, and meshed perfectly with the group’s previous material. These six new songs were sandwiched between the aforementioned “Sorry For It All” and “Test On My Patience” and the last two songs of the set which are probably their best known songs “Lemon Scent” and “Weatherman”.

She lays down gritty, crunching, bad ass electric roar.

At one point Armstrong apologized to the crowd for having to work the large stage and a barrier gauntlet that ran about eighty feet into the field in front of the stage. She said she wasn’t used to such a large stage. She absolutely did not have to apologize at all for she not only owned the stage…She owned the whole set and the crowd! Anyone that ever…EVER…claims that Dead Sara puts on a boring show is a big fucking liar! The show I saw was magnetic, enthralling, powerful, and spellbinding! Considering the sparse stage with only the musicians and instruments, it was hands down pure lightening! Emily Armstrong raged, she captivated, and exhilarated the crowd with a vigor and showmanship and emotion that seems to be lacking in many rock shows recently. If this group comes to your town and you don’t go, you are going to be psychologically kicking yourself when people are raving about the unbelievable show you missed the night before. The most amazing thing about her is the control of her vocals. As hard, bluesy and astonishing her guttural howling can be, it could also be gentle, caring, and tender. She never missed a note, never warbled or cracked, and was clear and controlled. She sounded unbelievably great! (Shout Out to their back-up singer Gabby…you did well too kid!)

Her playing was crisp, ferocious and spot on controlled fury.

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Siouxsie Medley absolutely does not look like your typical guitar gun slinger. Not gonna lie, this lady is tiny, BUT anyone would be a fool to underestimate her. She lays down gritty, crunching, bad ass electric roar. Her guitar work was a great mix of solid, catchy hooks and virtuoso mini-soloing. She was at times all over her side of the stage, spinning and cranking, working her ax, and when really feeling it running onto and jumping off the drum riser. Though not seeming to express many emotions, you could tell she was enjoying herself and feeling the music this day. Her playing was crisp, ferocious and spot on controlled fury.

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The battery team of Sean Friday and Chris Null, on drums and bass, shows that these two guys have been playing together for a long, long time. Friday also does a bit of back-up singing all while laying down a very fast proficient drumming that is tight, rough, rude, breakneck, and merciless. This guy impressed me with his concise, supersonic drumming. Chris Null was on the other side of the stage from me and truth be told, and this is totally my fault, I didn’t see much of him. What can I say but I was very distracted and captivated by the performance of Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley. Not that his performance was not an integral part of the band. You could hear the bass great and he was very good, and contributed well with all the other parts of the group as a whole I just did not focus on him.

Suddenly I felt it. BAM!!!

In the middle of the set, Armstrong did run the gauntlet, sound man in tow helping out with her mic cord. She got about three-fourths the way out, and on the way back accosted a kid by the shirt and sang/screamed into his face, and worked her way back to the stage. Not bad for a first run. Then, during the last song “Weatherman”, she made another foray out into the crowd. The Bunbury Festival had security everywhere and they weren’t messing around either. Never saw anyone get man-handled by them, but their presence was more than noticeable. I never saw one moss pit the entire festival, and though I never heard or saw it directly, there was probably a rule against having one. That’s not to say that the artists, or Emily Armstrong, got the memo!

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I grabbed the metal barrier with my right hand, holding on with a death grip…

Now in this segment comes the part where this writer becomes a part of the story.
She took the mic cord and worked the whole crowd down the gauntlet during the song “Weatherman”. As I was watching her on the way back, you could kind of sense something was coming. Just as she got to me (I was on the left side of the stage about the second row in) she jumped the barrier and got in amongst the crowd. She sang at me and then turned about three to five feet away to the group in front of me. There was a gap between us about three or four feet. All of a sudden I feel the surge behind me trying to get to her. I leaned back to give her some space. Suddenly I felt it. BAM!!! I got a forearm to my right kidney and then a second. It was at this point I grabbed the metal barrier with my right hand, holding on with a death grip, and leaned back as to give her the room to perform and sing. The song eventually ends, back over the barrier with a little help from bewildered security and fans and off she went. She runs back to the stage, and thanks the crowd goodnight…Just like nothing happened. I was a bit sore and dazed. But man you should have seen the smile on my face and how fast my heart was beating.

There was a Meet & Greet at the merch tent post show, and I got my new CD autographed. It was cool to shock the group when I told them I came all the way from Wisconsin just to see them. I thanked them for a great show. Just as I turned leave I said, “I really feel sorry for the poor bastards that have to follow you!” That got a little grin. I think Dave Grohl could be right…Dead Sara has the potential to be the “Next Big New Rock Band in the World”!

Want more from Dead Sara? What am I saying?! Of course you do! Please feel free to check them out here:

Dead Sara official site

Hunter McLeod
Special kilScene Contributor

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