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Photo by John Anderson


Waterloo Park, Nov. 7

Cloaked in black monk robes, Death opened with a short, silent vigil to the original Detroit trio's late guitarist, David Hackney, whose life-sized image served as guardian angel on both sides of the stage. What transpired from that point was both tribute and testament to Death's timeless rattle, a singular anachronism of proto-punk snarl, prog-rock intricacy, and sweet Motown soul. In only its fifth reunion performance behind Drag City's spring debut of Death's ... For the Whole World to See, recorded in 1975 but until now never released, bassist/vocalist Bobby Hackney, drummer Dannis Hackney, and the brothers' longtime guitarist in their Vermont-based reggae act Lambsbread, Bobbie Duncan, tore through their 26-minute artifact from start to finish, right down to the brief drum solo in the enthralling minisuite "Let the World Turn" and Bobby's demented laugh during the clunky breakdown for "Where Do We Go From Here???" As evidenced by the panic in Detroit of "Freakin Out" and Bobby Hackney's deep soul vocals throughout, Death never took a holiday, Duncan leading the stripped-down gallop of "Rock-N-Roll Victim" while leaving his own mark on closing riot "Politicians in My Eyes." "If you think it's all sticks and stones, you're wrong," Bobby offered on his brother David's behalf. "Listen to your inner voice. It's all about love and the family." Amen.

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