Bad Luck City @ 3 Kings TavernBy | March 6th, 2008 | No Comments »
Bad Luck City’s Dameon Merkl points to where he’ll see you after you die. Text and photos by contributor Doug Beam.
Watching a Bad Luck City show can sometimes have the same effect on you as waking up in a strange bed. Having done just that the morning I was to photograph the band’s CD release show at 3 Kings Tavern on Feb. 29, I was unusually receptive to the dark messages underlying their music that night. There’s a definite otherworldliness and bad dream-like quality to what Bad Luck City is doing — like the feeling you may get when trying to lift your alcohol-weighted eyelids and take in your strange surroundings.
Am I awake or not? Does she remember the night before? Was last night just a dream? Is Bad Luck City frontman Dameon Merkl really singing about hiding someone’s bones upstairs? Should I be considering the same thing at this point? Usually, with a little bright sunlight and caffeine you can come out of that funk and realize everything is good and happy again.
But Bad Luck City appears to live in a world where you never fully come back to your senses, or if you do, you wish you hadn’t. Thinking I’d returned to lucidity, I watched Merkl swagger onto the 3 Kings stage last Friday night, whiskey bottle in hand. It wasn’t long before his gravelly, deliberate, and occasionally seething delivery drew me back into the confused state of that morning.
Merkl’s voice, like the strange-bed scenario, contains a certain menace to it, but also has the excited anticipation of what may come next. Like watching a car wreck or a lover’s quarrel, you know it could end very badly but you can’t wait to see what will happen. In Bad Luck City’s world there will be blood, death and the loss of loved ones… and plenty of it.
Holding up Merkl’s gothic and macabre framework is a band worthy of backing Nick Cave on “No More Shall We Part”: Greg Kammerer and Josh Perry on guitar, Jeremy Ziehe on bass, Kelly O’Dea on violin and the disturbingly intense Andrew Warner pounding the drums. In fact, Merkl’s stage presence and delivery are strikingly similar to a Nick Cave performance. The difference is that Nick Cave’s menace goes away the moment you actually see his spindly frame, but Dameon Merkl looks like he could actually strangle you, enjoy it, and then write a song about it.
Well, at least onstage he does, and maybe only if viewed through one hell of a hangover. But I wouldn’t put it past him.
Having attended the show with only a camera and a hangover, I assumed a reviewer was standing behind me taking notes. Apparently, this was not the case. As my recollection of the specifics of the show have been dulled by time and alcohol, I’ll let my photos do the remembering for me. Please take a look at them while listening to some of the tunes on the band’s MySpace page, or better yet, check out Bad Luck City live on March 28 at the Meadowlark.
Check out more photos, starting with openers Monofog:
Check out more of Reverb contributing photographer/writer Doug Beam’s work.