The Goddamn Gallows blur roots, punk, cabaret, and metal into infectious good times | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

The Goddamn Gallows blur roots, punk, cabaret, and metal into infectious good times 

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click to enlarge Goddamn Gallows

Goddamn Gallows

James Pellegrini

Born in Michigan and raised on the road, the Goddamn Gallows had a four-year gap between The Maker and last year’s The Trial. The somewhat nomadic existence of this raw and boisterous band might account for that—they’ve moved from Michigan to Portland to California, and their members are currently scattered in cities all over the country (including Chicago) like empty bottles. But whatever the reason for the delay, The Trial was worth the wait. The album showcases the group’s melodic sensibility and road-honed tightness, herding their elaborate instrumentation—banjos, fiddles, mandolins, and accordions share time with raw distorted guitars and growling metal vocals—into a glorious attack formation. The Goddamn Gallows’ style has been described as “hobocore,” and they draw from diverse influences—Americana, bluegrass, punk, metal, cabaret, Celtic punk, sea shanties, and more—to create a sound that’s both new and nostalgically familiar. The overall vibe is like an eternal hangover, like a pint swung in cheer so hard somebody near the drinker loses teeth, or like a murder story in which the victim sees death coming (and is royally pissed off about it). Live, the Goddamn Gallows spark an energy that blurs the line between clogging circles and mosh pits, and on this tour, they coheadline with rootsy one-man band Scott H. Biram—a kindred spirit if ever there was one. Biram’s latest album, 2017’s The Bad Testament (Bloodshot), is a masterpiece of heavy honky-tonkin’ and battle blues.   v

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