Murder by Death
On the only occasion that Murder by Death played a Kansas City show, its keyboardist terrified El Torreon’s staff by unwittingly blowing fireballs within inches of an overhead gas main. Meanwhile, a homicide took place within blocks of the venue. Murder by Death concerts don’t necessarily occur within a circumference of impending doom — numerous Lawrence gigs have spawned no mishaps — but they always sound as if they do. As its morbid moniker implies, Murder by Death revels in the macabre. Playing a cello decorated with Iron Maiden stickers, Sarah Balliet lends ominous atmosphere to gothic country-punk songs. On the 2003 album Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them, a small town offends the devil during a drinking binge, with apocalyptic consequences. The in-progress record In Bocca Di Lupo uses Dante’s Inferno as its framework, dedicating a character-sketch song to each damned character. This approach enhances the band’s eclecticism, which eulogizes a pirate with a sea chantey and plays a tango for a lustful soul.