Concert Review: Dead Sara @ Black Cat (9/18/18)

Dead Sara
Dead Sara (Photo from FB @deadsara)


Two concerts* in two nights at the Black Cat? It happened.

On Tuesday, September 18, Dead Sara put the rafters of the Black Cat’s Backstage to the test with a powerful, blazing set of magnificent rock.

Also wow, Emily Armstrong can sing! She found plenty of opportunities to wail like a banshee at the top of her lungs during their 13-song set. I wondered how it’s possible to maintain that vocal range night after night, my voice would have given out long ago.

Dead Sara is a hard rock band from Los Angeles, and consists of Emily on vocals and guitar, Siouxsie Medley on guitar, Sean Friday on drums and one other touring band member on bass.

An air raid siren blared, signaling their arrival, and the band went full throttle into the banging “Suicidal” and the even louder “Monumental Holiday”. I was convinced a mosh pit would emerge, but the front of the crowd were saving themselves for later.

One of the highlights of the show came for “Radio One Two”, where the crowd sang in unison with Emily, then she ceded the verse to the crowd. I think Emily was so surprised she almost missed her cue to continue the next verse. I presume, based on her ‘holy cow’ expression.

Next was “Mona Lisa”, that starts slow and languid, with a great bass line, and then thrashes up a few notches as it progresses. I thought Emily would break (or sprain) her neck with all the head banging, the stage could barely contain her.

A few times Emily chatted with the crowd, and threatened to move into stand-up, and people shouted responses. Sometimes they were funny, but mostly could have done without the extra shouts. Talking about DC, she was amazed so many people were out biking and running, and expressed excitement in exploring the city the next day. She’d never been to ‘DC proper’.

Dead Sara is touring for their latest EP, Temporary Things Taking Up Space. They’ve also released two albums since 2008, and a couple other EPs.

They played three songs from Temporary Things, including “Heaven’s Got a Back Door” and “Unamerican” near the end, both with bluesy rock elements.

The strangest moment came when they played “Get Up, Get Down”, which has a catchy pop sound, nothing like their other songs. Still pretty good, but it’s not clear to me if it’s a new song or a cover.

Dead Sara ended the night with their biggest hit, “Weatherman”, and Emily got down onto the floor, weaving amidst the riled up crowd. When the last note reached our ears, they were gone, leaving everyone content with 90 minutes or so well spent. After they finally departed the stage, the lights remained off, almost as if they would return for an encore. They didn’t. Hey, Black Cat, turn on the lights when the show is over! Thanks!

Also, go get some Dead Sara music to tide yourself over until they return to DC!

Monumental Holiday
Lemon Scent
Radio One Two
Mona Lisa
Face to Face
Blue Was The Beautiful You
Times to Remember
Get Up, Get Down
Heaven’s Got a Back Door
Mr. Mr.

* I also witnessed Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever at the Black Cat on September 17th.

P.S. According to Wikipedia, Dead Sara refers to the Fleetwood Mac song “Sara” and the lyric ‘said Sara’ which they mistook for ‘dead sara’.

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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