The Murder Weapon

MaineList Article: The Murder Weapon

The Murder Weapon

Tonight’s “Local Music Roundup” featured four bands of slightly different styles. The opening band; “Syndicate 19” really put on an amazing performance. Their songs were well crafted and the band’s presentation really kept the audience interested.

Introduction“The Bloody Marble Collective” and “Two Forty Gordy” also did a fantastic job at keeping the crowd’s attention while grinding out their grooves and endorsing an energetic enthusiasm towards the events at Club Mirage in Old Orchard Beach.

Finally, “The Murder Weapon”, a band out of Thomaston Maine, came on stage to finish out the night. The Murder Weapon consists of three members; Jon Nothing (vocals and guitar), D.Murder (upright bass) and Cory Marz (drums and vocals). Collectively, this three-piece delivered a powerful vintage sound that rocked this town inside out!

Two Forty GordyI listened to the voiced opinions of various friends and fans throughout the night, and gathered enough information to ascertain the event to be successful, based on the crowd’s response and overall ambiance of the room.

Early in the evening, while the bands were still setting up, I spoke with members of “Two Forty Gordy” and “The Murder Weapon” to try and figure out the lineup for this four-band event.

Members of Two Forty Gordy seemed eager to allow The Murder Weapon to headline, especially when they came to discover that I still hadn’t seen the band perform live yet.

You see, originally, I had asked Two Forty Gordy to headline this event. It was “Matt Lange”, guitarist and vocalist for Two Forty Gordy, who encouraged me to invite The Murder Weapon to perform alongside them during this event in the first place. So I was a bit bedazzled when Matt humbly suggested to give the headliner to the band whom he had originally recommended as an opener. So, a big thanks goes out to Matt for making this recommendation and for giving The Murder Weapon the spotlight.

Visual ImpressionOnce The Murder Weapon finally made it to the stage, I was immediately made aware of the reason why Matt had made his recommendations.

The band’s style is quite a bit different from most of the bands that I have ever seen from Maine. Although, I’ll admit, this is not a new style of music at all. I’ve heard of bands like this out west, and have even been encouraged to try and form a Psychobilly band of my own by friends out west who have seen the popularity of this style grow in recent years. Always shocked are my online friends who discover that Maine really doesn’t know much about this neo-retro musical style of Rockabilly meets Punk.

The very first thing I’m sure everyone notices when they see a Psychobilly band is the stand-up double bass who’s classical appearance can really turn the heads of an entire room. It’s awesome to look up and discover that the walking bass-lines that are carrying the swinging beat is actually a gigantic hollow bodied instrument. Thumping bass melodies ride along with fast paced punk-like beats, dynamically married with the nostalgic 50’s rockin’ blues sensation we all know as Rockabilly.

PsychobillyFor those of you uninformed, Rockabilly is a style of music from the 1950’s which combined Rock with Hillbilly music. People of that time would have described it as a music combining black music with country music, or blues with a country beat, since rock was still a new sensation of those years.

Psychobilly is a hybrid combination of music, taking this Rockabilly to the next level. Rockabilly meets Punk! If you think about it, both of these styles are classic, so it’s interesting to hear them combined. The transformation allows a band to explore a wide variety of musical styles while keeping things hoppin and fun, as per Rockabilly tradition.

The listener seems to understand the qualities of the music

The need to danceThe audience is compelled to dance, even if they are unfamiliar with the band’s music. The listener seems to understand the qualities of the music and instinctually bounce around on the dance floor. When the band slips into a “cover song”, it’s more likely to be something traditional, such as “Stray Cat Strut”, which was made famous by Brian Setzer of “The Stray Cats” who emerged late into the scene back in the early 80’s.

The Murder Weapon is not a new band at all. In fact, they’ve been playing this Psychobilly together as a band for the past four and a half years. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, because the three members of the band have also been jamming together since their mid-teens! Longterm friendship and a commitment to the band have helped these guys deliver a powerful stage presence and help introduce Maine to a style that could soon be followed by other peers in the local music scene.

Mark FerriIt seemed that “Mark Ferri” from “MAF Sound & Lighting Productions” may have had his hands full tonight with four bands, but Mark seemed to enjoy putting the sound together for this show.

The opening band; “Syndicate 19” used an electronic drum kit, or.. technically… two entire Roland V-Drum kits combined into one. This would have proved challenging for just about any sound engineer, so we were all grateful to have the professional abilities that Mark delivered.

It must have been equally challenging to produce sound for a band utilizing an upright bass too. But all four bands really sounded great! Thanks Mark for helping us put on a great show!

Mark really seemed to enjoy the music too, and adds a very resourceful service to the experience by providing each of the bands with a recorded CD audio track of their own performance too.

Kristen and LuluAs the show was coming to an end, I met with a group of people who had traveled from Cambridge Massachusetts, just to see this band perform. They were not friends traveling to show support, and a couple of the girls came across as “fans” of the band, more than anything.

“Kristen” and “Lulu” said that they had seen the band a couple of other times in Portland, and was delighted to make the trip to see them again.

“We love The Murder Weapon! Their music is awesome and the guys are hot!” exclaimed these two charming fans.

The girls asked me if I could introduce them to the band, and although they could have just as easily walked up and introduced themselves, I thought it would be cool to bring them together.

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Kristen and Lulu (continued)I could tell that they were both very delighted to meet the band, and felt a star quality connection happening right before my eyes. You should have seen their expressions. Their energy really added to the accelerated experience of the moment.

I usually listen for compliments and comments by members of the audience. I could easily fill the rest of this article with individual comments made by people throughout the night, but most of those comments could be summed up by saying that just about everyone loved the band. The music felt good, it was easy to get into, and the energy of the room was positive and cheerful.

Bass antics

Bass antics

One of my favorite things about watching and photographing the band was that upright bass. During different points of their performance, the bass player would use the instrument as a stage prop with punk-like antics. Laying the bass on it’s side, while sitting on top of it, while continuing to perform. I even saw Jon, the band’s front-man, stand atop the bass while it was laying on the floor. Sometimes, you’d see the bass spinning or picked up off the floor and hoisted over the bassist’s shoulder or even straight up into the air. Fun, fun fun!

Brief History of PsychobillyIf you’re already familiar with this style, then you’ll know that there’s really nothing unique about it at all. “Nekromantix” helped forged this path since as early as 1989, who came into the scene while it was still heavily dominated by European Pschobilly artists. Meanwhile the ever-popular The Reverend Horton Heat became one of the first American bands to popularize the trend here in the United States. Both of these bands are considered big influences for The Murder Weapon amongst a slew of others.

For those who are not so familiar with this musical movement, most people still remember “The Stray Cats” with hit songs like; “Rock This Town” and the epic “Stray Cat Strut”. Although The Stray Cats are more Rockabilly than Psychobilly, they are also considered a big influence to bands of this genre as well.

Plans for the futureWhile speaking with The Murder Weapon, the band began to open up some of their ideas for the upcoming future of their lively stage antics.

“We are trying to become even more visual to our audience. We’re currently working on inviting some Burlesque girls onto the stage with us too.” This would further enhance the band’s nostalgic visual presentation, while entertaining with an even sexier performance for men and women alike.

“We’re going on our first tour this Fall with “Koffin Kats”, another Psychobilly band out of Detroit.” Explained Cory. “We managed to pick up a couple of weeks with them.” Cory seemed excited and pleased to take the show on the road, and confessed that many of the band’s fans have been encouraging them to open themselves up to larger audiences in different areas.

SummaryNow that I have seen The Murder Weapon perform, I may be hooked. I am sure I will see them perform again, and will be sure to spend more time on the dance floor like everyone else.

Despite the mis-matched genre between the four bands, I thought that everything still blended together fairly naturally too. Due to the diversity in the Pschobilly style, a band like this could be booked in a wide variety of situations.


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