Live at Leeds Metropolitan University on Tuesday, 23rd April 2002
Now almost two years since its release, though not dated a single day, "Mistakes & Regrets" is greeted with the loudest roar of the night before even a word is sung as the unmistakable slow melody line builds up into a blast of intense raw energy, a Stateside version of The Cooper Temple Clause's "Panzer Attack" for want of a comparison. Trail of Dead share more than a singular moniker with their UK counterparts; they both invest a lot of time and effort into providing a rock show that fans will remember (see Jason Reece sharing quite a large bottle of spirit and a joint with those gathered at the front) as well as sharing a fascination with being as loud as possible noizeniks (see Neil Busch blowing a fuse in his bass amp very early on). They share past comparisons with the masters of all things noise (Sonic Youth) and they're both great. Breaking the similarities, what makes Trail of Dead unique is that there is a gothic leaning to their fast and frenzied punk rock'n'roll, which works into the mix very well.
Back in time an hour, and things aren't going to plan in front of a full (but not sold out) Leeds crowd... a shaky start hasn't boded well for the Texans, a situation caused by Conrad Keely, the initial frontman who shares drum, vocal and guitar duties with Jason, singing woefully off key when the set started. Knocked somewhat off track (not helped by the blown bass amp) it's not until Jason finally replaces Conrad as the frontman that everything clicks into place - a four beat count and the previous sticksman is seen flying ten foot out into the audience to kick off the manic set that everyone has expected.
Throughout the next hour and a half, Jason Reece is such a star; here is a guy who just loves to be stood as the centre of attention in front of a sweaty audience. "Come on! Throw something at me", he shouts during a minor interlude. A forerunner for being nominated the Dead's tour bus prankster it's no surprise he has that cheeky Jim Carey expression, nor is it strange that even as the set closes he continues with his onstage antics. After initially leaving the stage to take a call on his mobile phone (leaving the rest oblivious to the fact they have no drummer) Jason is off backstage again, suggesting he's under an overeager impression they've finished for the night. As expected he returns, only to smash up the drum kit and tip a bucket of water over himself and the now quite excited crowd. Conrad disposes of his guitar in equal fashion and the Dead depart. A night's work done and dusted in style.