Friday night was a great night for music in the Holy City.
The Charleston Pour House gave rise to some powerhouse vocals, throwback classics, good ol’ Southern rock 'n’ roll, and not one, but two badass drum solos. The Dead 27s—whose name is a reference to the infamous "27 Club," a group of popular musicians who all coincidentally died at the age of 27—are undeniably rock stars. After a casual Q&A with the band, I was able to better understand where they stand on their musical journey. Formed in 2012, the quintet, described as “a Southern blend of Rock and Soul,” are truly laid-back dudes who just want to have a good time and play some funky music. Sitting in the green room of the Pour House, I began our interview by congratulating them on winning Charleston City Paper’s “Rock Band of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” “Up and Coming Artist of the Year,” and “Album of the Year,” for their debut album, Chase Your Devils Down (2014). Additionally, drummer Daniel Crider won “Drummer of the Year" and bassist Oliver Goldstein “Bassist of the Year.” With all of that achievement under their belts, I asked how things have changed since the awards and got an incredibly humble-yet-solid “all good things” response from the City Paper’s “Guitarist of the Year” for the third-straight year, Wallace Mullinax. With more upcoming shows and festivals than they could name, the dedication, connection, and creative energy was obvious amongst this crew.
After asking the guys when fans can expect a second studio album, talented vocalist Trey Francis responded, “I don’t know if we’ll definitely get it out this year, but we’ve definitely started recording.” He smiles. “We’ve already been in the process of recording demos.” Mullinax then energetically chimed in, "Almost every show we’re breaking out something new.” With fans that love the carefree, catchy, guitar-heavy, whiskey-drinking music the Dead 27s crank out so effortlessly, I can’t wait to see how their sound evolves. After discussing the set list with them, I was excited to see how they incorporated some new experimental tunes. As projected, they rocked. “You Are The Only One” showcased their promise to take creative liberty in mixing things up for the next album. They really got the crowd going with a cover of Michael Jackson’s 1979 classic “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough.” Honestly, I thought they did a great job balancing original material and covers. Dead 27s's lyrics encapsulate an undeniable truth, rawness, and simplicity. Their sound, derived from many different musical influences, is mainly driven by the funk. In fact, when I brought up the fact that I am a funk fanatic, they were stoked and agreed that more and more people are jumping back on the funk train. “It’s about funkin’ time!” says the band in unison.
After the interview ended, I was able to catch one of the opening bands, Richmond, Virginia act The Congress, who I had never heard of but was blown away by. We walked into their inventive cover of “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” by the Beatles. Next, Trey Francis of Dead 27s spoiled the audience by joining The Congress for a cover of Roberta Flack’s recognizable classic “Killing Me Softly.” Wow, let me tell you, Francis can really hit those high notes! After an awesome drum solo by talented drummer Mark Levy, we were warmed up for the Dead 27s. Throughout the night, the improvisations and solos were what showcased the immense amount of talent and true flair. Top hits blended with new material and sprinkled with some classics proved to be a recipe for a great time. I look forward to seeing the Dead 27s continue to explode in the next few years and keep expanding outside of Chucktown.
Click the SoundCloud link at the top of the page to listen to the band's debut album! Don't miss their hit "Don't Want To Live My Life Without You."
See the Dead 27s at the following festivals and venues:
March 6 @ Bourbon St. in Myrtle Beach, SC
April 10 @ Tin Roof in Columbia, SC
North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival, May 8–9, 2015
Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN, June 5–13, 2015
Camp Barefoot Music & Arts Festival, Bartow, WV, August 20–22, 2015
Photo gallery images courtesy of Big Funk Photography.