Dead Sara are the torchbearers of rock’s flame
By Harriet Kaplan
In terms of a live act, L.A.-based rockers Dead Sara proved they are in a league of their own. They were out to make you forget the competition and succeeded by the sheer physicality of their hour-plus set. It was a sweat-soaked, freewheeling performance that rung out every ounce of gut-wrenching emotion, intensity and passion out of the show and as a backdrop against material from their latest album “Pleasure To Meet You” and their self-titled debut release. The second night of sold-out stint at the Troubadour was a literal marathon of high-energy, non-stop music and movement from the band. Emily Armstrong, the band’s lead singer and conduit, danced, struck various poses with her guitar and occasionally dived into the audience.
Her dramatic bad ass chick persona has earned her the respect and admiration of her devoted followers filling a void in a genre of music sorely missing a strong dominant frontwoman. Emily Armstrong is the real deal. The large fan base threw their hands up in the air showing approval when they heard a favorite song, cheered and sang along in unison, or picked up on a versus or chorus where Armstrong left off. She also asked the audience to sometimes finish a song and pointed the microphone in their direction. Armstrong is a versatile artist capable switching vocal styles to fit the arrangements or mood of number. On one hand, she has been compared to a female Kurt Cobain with her piercing, guttural blood curling screams and wails. Armstrong also tempered that approach from song to song with a rough-hewn vocals. Then she may do the unexpected, and sing a hymn like Amazing Grace, that has a beautiful sonic clarity to it where her vocals became lush and pretty. On occasion, Armstrong goes from tough to tender but tough won out more often than not. Ending the night on a defiant and fierce note, Dead Sara showed that side again. The group also featuring Siouxsie Medley (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Null (bass guitar, backing vocals Sean Friday (drums, backing vocals), returned to the stage to perform Killing in The Name of by Rage Against the Machine. Dead Sara did a capable and believable job of making it their own. It was a high point in a show marked by an unforgettable exciting live performance.
Photos by Cortney Armitage