The rest will fall

Trail of Dead Phoenix Theater, Petaluma Tues., May 24

Sweden’s (International) Noise Conspiracy was a terrible choice to open for And You Will Know Us by The Trail of Dead at last week’s Petaluma show. The rock star moves were all there, and the retro-rock punk progressions were decent, but the live result was a whole lot of posturing and preening without any guts.

No matter—30 seconds into Trail of Dead’s first song, all memory of I.N.C.'s set was scorched from the historical Phoenix Theater stage.

The lights went down and “Ode to Isis,” the dramatic symphonic intro to Trail of Dead’s latest release, Worlds Apart, played over the PA as the new, expanded version of the Austin, Texas, group (from four to six members, with two drummers) filed onto the dark stage. As soon as the intro scream faded, the percussive “Will You Smile Again?” blasted out two drummers strong. It was massive and surprising, and as the epic song jumped through the hoops of its disparate dynamics, it was clear that Trail of Dead is trying for something huge, something almost out of reach.

The band played a balanced selection of tunes from its history, and it was thrilling and exhausting to witness this expansive noise orchestra’s cooperative commitment to pushing each selection to its sonic and emotional limits. No opener in the world would have stood a chance.