Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Josh Duke on Dagger of the Mind – Jan. 22, 2008

Sometimes I wonder if my editor tries to set me up, just baiting me with bands that sound too ridiculous to be true (Nope. – JS/Scene Ed.). And I thought Saturday would be one such instance, were it not for that Dagger of the Mind from Portland managed to somehow entertain a crowd of semi-inebriated Arcatans that weren’t drunk enough to not care.
DoTM gave us a collection of Shakespeare’s words backed against a heavy metal backdrop, while 33 1/3 tried their darndest to entertain us in the twilight of the evening.

Dagger of the Mind started off our evening heralding its commencement atop bars and tables, making sure that no one could possibly ignore them. Dressed in tunics and whatever it is they called pants back in those days, they rocked hard with Iron Maiden-esque guitar solos, wailing vocals, and the worst fake British accents that would send the Bard spinning in his grave.

But they rocked the Casbah with excerpts from classics like Hamlet and Measure for Measure, even throwing in a costume change before a ballad that made us all say a little prayer hoping he was wearing a dance belt. Throwing iambic pentameter to the wind, the singer belted out a mishmash of tragedy and comedy that could only be better were at the Globe itself.

Dagger of the Mind reminded me of those times when our teachers in grade school would try to make learning “fun” and “hip.” Like when they’d make the multiplication table into a rap song or show us a video in Health starring Joey Lawrence. They were like School House Rocks meets the Renaissance festival meets the Ashland Shakespeare festival. I think they should tour the country, playing in high school gymnasiums so one day, hopefully, that burnout kid in a Slayer shirt at Bellmont High in Decatur, Indiana will have a lightbulb go off in his head and runs straight to the library. But I guess that’s a longshot.

33 1/3 closed out our night in a deflated sense, as a three-piece band with no lyrics to speak of would have a tough chore to try to upstage a band using words from the English language’s greatest writer.

But they did alright, I suppose.

Turning out a quick 45-minute set, they showed us what they got, and all they were capable of. Heavy chords and quick drums served as the meat of their set, occasionally giving us a side of fancy guitar work. But the fact that it only took me 45 minutes to see what they were capable of was the only disheartening part of the evening. They weren’t awful or anything, it just got a little repetitious and formulaic. Like all I could see them doing with that kind of music is opening for CKY and being played during the credits of Bam Margera skate video.

Good luck with that, fellas.

So it was a good night after all. I feel like I experienced some culture. I got Shakespeare on one hand and only a mild reaffirmation of musical ennui that left my ears only slightly ringing. But what do I know? This is only a review written by a cynic, full of Olympia and bourbon, signifying nothing.

Despite rumors circulating around Eureka, Josh Duke is alive and well. But why confine your thoughts to The Shanty? E-mail to


1 Comment»

  CJ wrote @

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