Dead Sara alive and well in musicWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
To get an idea of what to expect from a Dead Sara show, just take a gander at the band’s Facebook page.
Scroll down, and you’ll see an action shot from a recent gig in Los Angeles where singer Emily Armstrong is a good 12 feet in the air above the stage. No, she can’t fly, and she wasn’t caught frozen in midair pre-crowd surf; she was just singing.
“It’s definitely an outlet,” Armstrong said of playing live. “We just love to play f—–g loud, dirty rock ’n’ roll. I think we all essentially love to do that, amongst other things. But, like, right now, that’s the feeling I get from everything. We just love to play loud rock ’n’ roll. It’s absolutely fun. It’s stress-relieving for us.”
The energetic spirit on display in that picture is just another day at the office for Armstrong and Dead Sara, one that will be on display in Toledo on May 3 when the band performs at Frankie’s.
Rounded out by Siouxsie Medley (guitar), Chris Null (bass) and Sean Friday (drums), Dead Sara has generated lots of buzz over the past year through touring with the likes of Bush and Chevelle and is continuing to gain steam after releasing its self-titled, full-length debut on April 10.
“It’s funny because it’s a lot of work, but at the same time it’s very relieving, if that makes any sense,” Armstrong said. “It’s like, ‘OK, cool.’ We got, like, this push, this help—like finally, moving, you know? We’re not stuck at the wall trying to push the wall down, you know?
“And that’s like a whole different type of work in itself, getting that wall to come down to be able to just move and work as a band.”
Approximately four years ago, behind the wall is exactly where Dead Sara was musically.
“We hadn’t played that many shows,” said Armstrong, who started Dead Sara with Medley. “We had been on one 10-day tour with a friend’s band of ours, and we had so much tension with labels wanting us to get into [the studio] with writers, with producers. So it’s stuff that it just seemed not right to me. I was like, ‘This is not what I wanted to do.’ I wanted to play music.”
Armstrong met Medley in her teens through a mutual friend, and for nearly eight years the duo has been jamming. After going through several lineup changes, struggling with the music industry and releasing EP “The Airport Sessions” in 2008, Dead Sara gained solid footing with the additions of Null and Friday.
Together they recorded the band’s debut at the famed Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, in 2010 with producer Noah Shain (Atreyu, As Tall As Lions), who had produced friends of Dead Sara and seen the group’s growth over the years.
“We were just kind of like, ‘Yeah. Why not? You’ve seen our whole evolution and you understand it,’ ” Armstrong said of working with Shain. “He just understood where we wanted to go with it.”
The result in Dead Sara’s debut full-length is an 11-song effort that displays both the raw energy and melodic sensibility of the band, a dichotomy that’s evident with hit singles like “Weatherman” and “Sorry for It All.” The album, which was released on Dead Sara’s own Pocket Kid Records label through Fontana/Universal, peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart.
Ironically, Armstrong—whose voice has garnered praise from Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and caught the attention of Courtney Love—never planned on being a singer.
“I just wanted to be the guitar player and backup singer; that was it,” said Armstrong, who’s been hooked on music since first picking up a guitar at 11 and hasn’t stopped since getting a guitar on her 12th birthday. “It wasn’t until I had so many singers in the band and it was just like, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. It just dawned on me one day that, ‘You know what? They can’t sing what I hear and it’s not there,’ so I had to literally train myself to be able to play or sing the way I hear it.”
With an upcoming tour with the Used prior to being a featured artist on this year’s Vans Warped Tour, Dead Sara is soaking in the moment after years of uncertainty in the music industry.
“I just want to convey raw emotion,” Armstrong said of Dead Sara. “I want somebody to feel what it is that I could possibly communicate as a singer and a musician.”
Dead Sara will perform on May 3 at Frankie’s, 308 Main St. Presented by Verso Group and 100.7 The Zone, tickets are available for $1.07 in advance and will be $5 at the door the night of the show. Doors open at 8 p.m. and all ages are welcome. For more information, call (419) 693-5300 or visit frankiesinnercity.com.