On October 21, 2011, Baltimore trio Double Dagger performed their final show as a band in their hometown. Fast forward to almost exactly ten years later, the band played two reunion performances this past weekend in Baltimore at Ottobar on Friday (site of their final show) and Current Space on Saturday which also served as a release party for Thrill Jockey's expanded digital edition of DD's Sophisticated Urban Living. Pictures from Ottobar and setlist for both shows are in this post.

Baltimore band Smoke Bellow were scheduled to play Friday's show but dropped off due to a potential COVID exposure. Ami Dang substituted instead and announced to the crowd that she received a text message from Double Dagger the night before asking her to play and she couldn’t say no. She also shared that this was her first time performing in front of an audience in 18 months and was excited to hear bass coming through the speakers of a club again. She used MIDI controllers, her voice, a sitar, a laptop, gestures, plus vocals throughout her 30 minute set.

After Dang’s performance was over, there was an intermission where the audience was shown an animated video by Albert Birney of his characters “Tux and Fanny.” Following the short, two people donning fitness gear named Natalie and Thor led the audience to complete some stretching and breathing exercises as we were all 10 years older than the last time we saw Double Dagger perform live and could use the warm up ahead of the dancing/moshing/crowdsurfing that happened.

Double Dagger -- Vocalist Nolen Strals, bassist Bruce Willen, and drummer Denny Bowen -- began their first live set together in a decade with “The Mirror,” the opening song from their final record, 333, which came out on April 20, 2013 for Record Store Day bundled with a documentary by Gabe DeLoach called If We Shout Loud Enough that was filmed during their final shows in 2011. Nolen joked about four songs into their set that he didn’t feel ten years older; it was more like 13 or 14 but certainly not 10. Despite admitting this to everyone, he was as active on stage as ever, barely staying in one spot for very long, and at one point on the floor in the crowd dancing with an unsuspecting audience member.

During their performance of “The Lie/The Truth,” from their 2009 album MORE, they were joined by Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands who had just finished their tour with A Place To Bury Strangers the previous night in Washington, DC. Double Dagger’s first set ended with them performing a song called “Heretic’s Hymn” for the very first time as it was only finished after their breakup (it’s the closing song on 333). They dedicated this first ever performance of the song to their friend Kevin, and would perform it again a second time with the same dedication during their second reunion show the following night.

For the shows, Double Dagger reprinted their "stabbing daggers" t-shirt design that unsurprisingly sold out quickly the first night and a second run was done just in time before the Saturday show started. Besides the limited t-shirts, Double Dagger had their Thrill Jockey releases available for sale in CD and vinyl formats.

 

photos by Edwina Hay

SETLIST: Double Dagger @ Ottobar, Friday, October 15, 2021
The Mirror
Luxury Condos For the Poor
The Psychic
Camouflage
The Lie/The Truth (with Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands)
Surrealist Composition With Your Face
Sleeping With the TV On
No Allies
Vivre Sans Temps Mort

Encore
Heretic’s Hymn

SETLIST: Double Dagger @ Current Space, Saturday, October 16, 2021
Vivre Sans Temps Mort
No Allies
We Are the Ones
The Mirror
Camouflage
Sleeping With the TV On
The Lie/The Truth
Heretic’s Hymn

Encore 1
The Psychic
Luxury Condos For the Poor

Encore 2
Surrealist Composition With Your Face