Murder By Death

The band name sounds sinister. The music is nothing short of beautiful and heartfelt.

When I first heard the band name, I was sure it was going to be some sort of extreme metal but when I sat down and listened to them, I was completely caught off guard. At first I didn’t like it because it wasn’t at all what I was expecting but it quickly grew on me and now I look forward to every chance I get to see these guys live.

Murder By Death’s music could be classified as indie-rock, alt-country, rock, punk… hell, it can be whatever you want to be because it is truly that diverse and that unique. Adam Turla, the singer, has a voice that makes the music lean more towards the country side of things but the talented band he has behind him make it so he doesn’t pigeon hole the band as a country band. The lyrics about whiskey and devil fit Adam’s raspy, yet clean, voice perfectly.

Every time I see them live, cellist Sarah Balliet seems to steal the show. Maybe it’s the fact that seeing a cellist in a rock band is a bit different, maybe it’s the fact that the way she moves to the music while playing is nothing short of captivating. Whatever it is, Sarah somehow steals my attention every time I see these guys live. I just can’t tear my eyes off of her.

Murder By Death has been called one of the “hardest working bands out there” and last night, along with every other time I see them, proved it. There’s nothing fake about their performance. Nothing is scripted and nothing seems to be anything less than genuine. They played through their nearly hour and a half long set with smiles on their faces the whole time. Those smiles matched the smiles on the faces of everyone in the audience. People were respectful as they clapped in between songs and stayed quiet through the slower, more somber songs. It’s rare that you see a crowd so respectful but when you go to a Murder By Death show, that’s how it always is.

New York native, Laura Stevenson, opened up the show with her sweet voice and sad love songs. Before she played a song, she would explain to the crowd that it was a love song, but it was sad sounding. This happened multiple times and the crowd giggled each time. She wasn’t lying. Her love songs did seem to have a very somber feeling to them but that just added to the beauty of them.

It felt as if Laura wanted to be in the background and didn’t mind people talking during her set. Her vocals and guitar were quiet in the speakers but not too quiet. It was the perfect music for people just getting into the concert and meeting up with friends. You could hear conversations about politics, conversations about work but, most importantly, you could hear Laura’s beautiful voice turn into a soundtrack for those moments. I really appreciated the quietness of it and it seemed to match the somber music.

Towards the end of the set, Laura announced that she had two songs left. They were both love songs but they were not sad. The crowd laughed with her as she played through the last two songs of her forty minute set. These songs were more upbeat but because of how quiet her voice and guitar was, it was hard to justify calling them “happy songs”.

I’m not typically one for slow songs, love songs, or even female singer songwriters but Laura Stevenson had me in the palm of her hand. She sang with feeling. She didn’t care what the crowd thought of her (although from the chatter I heard, people were falling in love with her with every note she played or sang). She got up on that stage and did what she loved and that can make anyone fall in love with you as a musician.

I had spent yesterday fighting with people online about politics. There’s no denying that the world is quickly turning ugly with fights between friends and family. Thank God concerts give you a place to decompress and truly let go of everything going on around you.

Line Up:

Laura Stevenson

Murder By Death

Venue: Fine Line

Sausage Fest Meter- 5 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 32

Crowd Surfers- None

Stage Divers-None

Grooveability- Moderate

Movement in the Crowd- Low

Broken Bones- None


Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score-6 out of 10

Show on Deck-  NOFX