Don’t Tell Me This Town Aint Got No Heart!

Grateful Dead Tribute Band
Shakes up Downtown Austin

By Joe Rossi

Downtown Sixth Street, to many the heart of Austin’s legendary music scene, is considered over-rated by many others, because in recent years it’s become more about style and bar-hopping than about good music. So as I strolled out of the Flamingo Cantina on Saturday on June 2, having caught a show by Deadeye, a relatively new Grateful Dead tribute band from South Austin, a line from the Grateful Dead song “Shakedown Street,” which they opened their second set with, popped into my head.

Nothin shakin on Shakedown Street. Used to be the heart of town.
Don’t tell me this town aint got no heart you just gotta poke around!

Deadeye brought an ample amount of the Dead’s legendary heart and soul to Sixth Street, while at the same time evoking a sense of originality and uniqueness, which is what I want from tribute bands.  It evoked in me memories of legendary Southern California tribute band Cubensis, headed by my old friend guitarist Craig Marshall. To this day, Cubensis has  always managed to imbue their tribute with originality.

Deadeye in ActionI  

I remember seeing Dark Star Orchestra, one of the country’s most recognized Dead tribute bands when they visited Austin awhile back. And I remember walking away with the sense that while it was good to hear the music and the band were very professional and tight, it just did not come across as “genuine” as I wanted, as there was in my view too much emphasis of being “just like the Grateful Dead” as opposed to emulating the quintessential jam band’s  style and bringing their songs to life with innovation and creativity. Such was the case with Deadeye.  The music felt real and not simply imitated but rather emulated while staying true to the songs and the arrangements.

I met and chatted with several members of the band on the upstairs patio. Most of the members were too young to have seen the band, so I shared my own experiences and memories.   It was refreshing, to say the least, to see such passion for a band from young people seeing how many young people have no awareness of the band or its historical impact on music as the quintessential flagship jam band.  The band has been together for about one and ½ years. They said that they a repertoire of 120 songs and are working on more. So embracing the legacy of both the originals and covers that the Dead performed for 30 years shows how DEADicated Deadeye is keeping the music alive.

A rocking first set opened with “Here Comes Sunshine,” followed by a cover of Dylan’s “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again.” Other Dead originals included “Row Jimmy “ and “Ramble on Rose.” Keeping up with his job as Bob Weir’s vocals, drummer Shadd Scott did a great job with “Looks Like Rain.”   They closed the first set with a blistering Help On The Way – > Slip Knot -> Franklin’s Tower. In addition to “Shakedown Street,” the second set featured “Estimated Prophet,” “Truckin’” and they closed the show with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Dancing to Deadeye!

Deadeye is comprised of Joe Faulhaber on guitar and vocals,  Trevor Nealon on keyboards and vocals, Shadd Scott on drums and vocals, Lee Braverman on bass and vocals Keith Sennikoff on guitar.

Upcoming shows include:
The Texas Music Theater in San Marcos on June 16th
Stubbs on June 28th 
The Rattle Inn on July 14th
Antones on August 2nd

For Booking: P.J. Harrington 513-518-4980