Just a handful of weeks ago, this site was singing the praises of Mike Krol‘s latest effort while dissecting the enigmatic songwriter’s curious history of rotating backing bands. A little over a week ago, he brought himself and his latest group of misfits to Baby’s All Right. Before they took the stage, Dead Painters delivered a set built momentum as it went along, hitting several sweet spots along the way and converting more than a few uninitiated audience members (myself included). Before too long, Krol and everyone with him on this tour, started frantically setting up an impressive assortment of props around the perimeter of the stage.
After a brief recess and with an array of barbed wire, flood lights, strobe lights, police lights, and pedals meticulously fixed to the stage, Krol and four other members (three of which came from the sorely missed Sleeping in the Aviary) suddenly appeared in near-blackness. One foot stomp on a pedal that triggered all of the lights going off simultaneously revealed each member in full police officer attire (true to the image that Turkey‘s album art boldly presented). From that point forward, the band were a blur, careening through a discography-encompassing set with reckless abandon. Suddenly, it was a surreal cops vs. prisoners scenario where the dividing lines were continuously blurred as artist and audience fed off of each other’s incessant, insistent level(s) of energy.
Songs came at a rapid-fire pace and nearly everything in Krol’s impressive collection found representation. Everyone in the band seemed like they were trying to tear their way out of their own skin, never showing any signs of fatigue, skewing closer to a startlingly pure state of delirium. A little past the set’s mid-way point, Baby’s lights person decided to get in on the action, triggering flashes of the venue’s iconic LED backdrop, much to Krol’s excitement. By the evening’s frenzied conclusion, both the band’s lights and the venue’s lights were firing on all cylinders while Krol and his band lost themselves to their own maelstrom of limbs.
As “Less Than Together” gave way to a clever guitar-driven reprise that echoed Turkey‘s closing number, the audience was already clamoring for an encore. On the whole, it was one of the mot well-received sets I’ve ever seen at the venue; on it’s own, it was the single most memorable standalone set I’ve seen take place on that stage. Anyone that has the chance to see this band play a date on this tour should immediately make it a priority or resign themselves to kicking themselves for years to come. This was one for the books.
Watch a collection of live videos from the show below and explore a photo gallery of the evening here.