Live Review:Murder By Death w/Sarah Shook & The Disarmers at Ottobar on May 10, 2019 – Baltimore, MD

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This was Sarah Shook & The Disarmers first time playing in Baltimore and they picked up a whole lot more fans after their fantastic opening set. I could hear the applause get louder and more enthusiastic after each song. I also heard many people in the audience state, “Wow! She is good!” Yes she is. And so is the the entire band. All of the band mates are incredible musicians.
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers won the crowd. I have seen it before, but not too often. They actually turned almost the entire audience of 300 plus people into fans. And they were the opening act. I said almost because a small portion of the audience (including myself) were Sarah Shook fans already. Kudos to Bloodshot Records for showcasing not just one, but two bands on their label.
Murder By Death needs no introduction. I didn’t realize how fervent their fan base is. There were many people in the audience who knew the words to every song. It reminded me of a Drive By Trucker concert in that respect. These ladies and gentlemen also play hard like the Truckers. They leave everything on stage and the fans certainly appreciate the effort.
The first thing that struck me was the musicianship. It’s punk rock mixed with symphony. It sounds like an odd mix, but it works really well. It’s such a lush, rich sound that it fits in perfectly with the alternative vibe that is also present.
I didn’t really have any expectations of what to expect from Murder By Death live. I have listened to their albums but seeing a band live should be a more enriching experience than just listening to the music. In other words, it should be special. And Murder By Death made it special. This is not a carbon copy of the albums.
There is a tremendous amount of energy generated by the albums; however, it does not compare to a live show. And I for one am glad I came and stayed. I liked the volume they played at. It was loud, which gives the music even more power. And the cello provides a Gothic feel, like walking into a 15th century cathedral.

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