Dead 27s


On their first ­ever attempt at writing together, Dead 27s came up with a batch of songs that perfectly embody the Charleston-­based band’s powerfully charged blend of rock-­and-­soul. Sprung from an all ­night songwriting session on the coast of South Carolina, several of those songs made their way onto Dead 27s’ acclaimed debut EP--Chase Your Devils Down. With the rest of the tracks set to appear on the band’s first full ­length album (due out this year), Dead 27s have brought a sharp sense of songcraft to the loose but potent musicality that’s propelled the band since the first time they shared a stage.

The earliest incarnation of the band came to life in spring 2012, when Francis, Mullinax, Evans and Goldstein teamed up for a set at a local festival. Although the four had never played together, they instantly felt an undeniable chemistry that turned what was meant to be a one­time collaboration into a series of shows and—once Crider joined the lineup—the eventual founding of the band. Seeking a name for the event, the band began to brainstorm ideas and decided to pay homage to the dead 27s, a group of musicians known for leaving an indelible mark on American music. The name stuck more for the appreciation of pushing musical boundaries and leaving nothing on the table at live shows, than a direct mirroring of any of the 27s club members sound.

In the music of Dead 27s, a mutual appreciation for early American blues (Johnson), psychedelic rock­and­roll (Hendrix), punk­minded modern rock (Cobain), and painfully charged soul (Winehouse) merges with a shared passion for pushing into new sonic terrain. In the making of Chase Your Devils Down, that meant forging a groove­powered sound that’s gutsy and urgent but graced with a sophisticated lyrical sensibility. “One of our goals is to take people on a ride,” says Francis of Dead 27s’ ever­shifting dynamic. “We wanna smack you in the face with some heavy guitar, then take it down with something quieter and softer and much more intimate.”

The emotional element of Chase Your Devils Down also proves complexly textured, with Dead 27s exploring themes of overcoming struggle in love and everyday living. “All the songs are based on the idea that no matter what life throws at you—whether it’s in your job, your relationships, or just struggles you may have internally—you’ve got to take what you can from the experience, and don’t let it get the best of you,” Francis says.

Released in spring 2014, Chase Your Devils Down earned Dead 27s the Charleston City Paper Music Awards’ Song of the Year prize two years in a row, thanks to the breezy heart­on­sleeve R&B of “Don’t Want to Live My Life Without You” and the riff­driven swagger of “Don’t Comfort Me.” Since the EP’s release, Dead 27s have also found themselves ranked in the top 24 of VH1’s “Make a Band Famous” competition and touring with the likes of Galactic, The Revivalists, Earphunk, Marcus King Band and Tab Benoit.

For Dead 27s—who’ve fast gained a reputation as an incendiary live act—each show serves as a breeding ground for creativity and a vessel for sonic expansion. Fueled by their unabashed belief in delivering a kinetic, thrillingly unpredictable set night after night, the band revels in the transcendent imperfection that comes from fully immersing themselves in the moment. And more often than not, says Mullinax, those beautiful mistakes help guide the band to their next creative breakthrough. “Playing a song live takes it out of the vacuum of the practice room, and provides a connection with an audience that informs how the song will be used in the future,” he points out.

With their following on the rise and the band supporting bigger acts and performing at larger festivals (including FloydFest this July), Dead 27s’ love of playing live ultimately connected them with Ben Ellman, the Grammy nominated New Orleans­based producer and member of the funk/rock act Galactic. Ellman was enlisted as producer on their forthcoming full­length debut and—in creating the album—dedicated themselves to capturing the raw, untamable energy of their live show. “With the new record, the one thing we knew for a fact was we didn’t want to make it all shiny­clean—we wanted big guitars, big drums, a whole spectrum of feeling,” notes Evans. The album also finds Dead 27s further broadening their sound by diving deeper into merging elements of psych­rock, throwback­soul and fuzz­funk. “One of the coolest things about this band is we always want to evolve, try new things, go in new directions we haven’t tried before,” says Mullinax. “It’s what keeps he music fresh, and what keeps the whole experience exciting for everyone involved.”

More About the Artist

Performance date/time: June 10, 2016 4:00pm
Stage: Main Stage

Return to list of performers

© 2016 Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival - 272 Harmon Field Rd, Tryon, NC 28782