Dead Mans Bones revel in variety

It was a night unlike the rest. I was exhausted, but hopped up on insomnia. This show had been sharpied into my agenda book for months so I escaped the grasp of social networking and glided up Belmont on a bus that stopped just steps from Schubas.

I wore attire that’d been buried deep in unpacked suitcases, others were dressed to impress. The crowd was odd, the venue sold out. Many women were in attendance and all looked similar. In my muddled consciousness it had escaped me, the band performing was comprised of one very dapper Hollywood actor, Ryan Gosling and his equally dapper companion, Zach Shields. Independently I found a space nearest the back of the floor. These women swooned and one even fainted, although I’m not certain if it was Mr. Gosling’s stage presence or a lethal dose of house Merlot.

I digress, as this is not a review of a musical outfit which includes Ryan Gosling, Hollywood actor. I had listened to this band and became enamored before I even knew who its members were. This is indeed a review that seeks to encompass the enigma that is Dead Mans Bones, their music and their penchant for all things unique and haunting. To be fair they’ve a certain wisdom about art and include nearly all artistic form in their live set.

Weeks in advance the duo had recruited locals to perform of their self-proclaimed talents before the show. I felt like the circus had come to town and that made me smile. It was nice to sit through something eye opening. The set behind the action was comprised of an elaborate graveyard and haunted mansion scene, which I’d never witnessed at this particular venue. The MC for the talent portion took shape as a ghost and lent humor to an already intriguing set.

Before the last act removed himself from the stage the musicians had arrived. They were as seasoned as veterans and the music reminded me of the wild west, had it been portrayed in a sadistic romance novel. Each individual band mate shares such an innate talent and lust for the unordinary. The vocals were chilling and just when I thought the show couldn’t possibly intrigue me more, up from below climbed a local children’s choir that sang the backing vocals. The fact that these kids were out past their bedtime performing at a bar was so fantastic. Their parents were audience members alongside drunken Debbie and fall-down Freddy. The optimistic grin splashed across Gosling’s face made the moments more surreal, as he was having a blast with these children.

Halfway through the set a short film directed by Gosling was thrown upon a blank screen as they sang from their albums repertoire. The video was crafty and shows the subtle dichotomy between the band members and their alter egos.

In essence, this particular concert was the very thing I needed, as I’d been toiling away, pen to paper, for days. I almost decided to call it a night, to stay indoors and sleep. How wretched a thought, to miss out on such a spectacle. I’ll be diving into their album once more this evening to allow absurd notions to be put to rest. Notions of otherworldly boredoms that certainly don’t grasp those willing for adventure to take hold.

-Holly Jones, Editor, On Tour Magazine