by Andrew Norman
Joe Rauen from Dastardly knows a location that would make the perfect setting for the dirge the Chicago band is about to howl into our mics and cameras on the second day of the 2012 Love Drunk Video Tour.
A tall, lanky multi-instrumentalist in the black, stingy-brim fedora with pouched cheeks that can expand to resemble those of a squirrel who fell into a bucket of nuts, Rauen leads us through gutted sheds, around a rusted-out tractor and through thick weeds past a rotting wooden silo on an abandoned property somewhere outside Joliet, Ill. Pulling ticks off our skin and racing the sunset, we settle on the ruins of an old farmhouse to set our scene.
A brick fireplace hangs suspended over the caved-in foundation as if the floor just fell out beneath it. Its chimney towers above, providing a home to swallows while it waits for the drunken high schooler who will one day kick it to rest with its counterpart refuse. It stinks of must and rust and piss and burned clothing. The five-member gypsy folk band and six-member Love Drunk crew aim our toes carefully to avoid the sharp stuff — rusty nails, wire and glass. The ground sinks with our weight.
Joe's right. This place is perfect.
Fronted by the acoustic-guitar-strumming Gabe Liebowitz' dark stories and backed by Rauen and fellow multi-instrument wielder Sarah Morgan, bassist August Sheehy and drummer Andy Taylor, Dastardly's sound stretches to fit every excusable reason for drinking. And as if this crumbling, decaying space is dead, they shake its wake.
Six Love Drunk videographers are on tour shooting live, one-take videos with bands across the eastern part of the U.S., spreading the word about Nebraska music along the way. This was day two of 17-day tour. Learn more about the project and the tour here. Watch all the videos here.
audio recorded/mixed by Matt Hovanec
video directed/edited by Django G-S
* performed on Saturday, May 5, 2012