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  • Writer's pictureRachel Levy

Dead Poet Society

Photos and Editorial by: Rachel Levy

Lead singer Jack Underkofler performs at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale on February 3, 2023.

Though Dead Poet Society opened for Highly Suspect last week in Fort Lauderdale to kick off the Ice Cold Winter Tour, it feels more accurate to say that they were less of an opener and more of an equal counterpart to the headliners themselves. And as a mega Highly Suspect fan, don’t think I stake a claim like that lightly.

Within their brief 35-minute set, Dead Poet Society put shame on me for claiming to be a modern rock fan without having their latest album within my arsenal of music. Walking into Revolution Live for this opener, I wasn’t prepared for the show the Berklee graduates had up their sleeves and even after a three day drive from California, fatigue was nowhere to be seen as the band delivered half-an-hour of genre-blending energy I’m already marking my calendar to see again.

Starting out with a superhero movie-like anthem, Sound and Silence revved up the crowd before they slipped into .burymewhole., a song that rises with a twang melody intro that’s eventually caught, strengthened, and given some rock edge by Jack Collins on the guitar.

This is a band that has unquestionably mastered the catchy riff: .burymewhole., .loveyoulikethat., .intoodeep., and .CoDa. are just a few songs so identifiable fans can name them by the opening note. Because of this, over the course of the night the band made a point to add a twist of mystery during the first few seconds of each song with random guitar riffs that kept the crowd essentially leaning in on top of one another as they waited for the familiar drop to come.

The thing about Dead Poet Society is that for every addicting riff and chorus there’s equal attention and weight given to the lyrics and meaning to the songs they’ve released. There’s .loveyoulikethat., a song that pierces anyone who has experienced the excruciating devastation of love that, for whatever reason, just doesn’t work. Lead singer Jack Underkofler sings: Baby I swear I tried / There’s nothing more that I’d like / Than to be yours for life / But there’s something inside screamin’ this is not right.

As far as on-stage presence goes, bassist Nick Taylor carries the show with old-school rock energy. His electric movement on stage gives forward the idea that there would be no music without movement: from the opening of the set to its close, his body and the guitar whirled into a single, unstoppable entity that fed the crowd with its relentless energy. Underkofler has a charm and a passion, albeit different from Taylor’s, that’s easy to get behind and fun to watch. Jack Collins on the guitar and Will Goodroad on drums bring a hard-edged Californian vibe to the stage; an energy that nicely compliments the heavier tones of Underkofler and Taylor.

All in all, if there was one thing to regret about the performance it would only be its short length. Whether by design or not, by finishing out the set with a song as addicting as .CoDa. they pre-determined my playlist home: i.e. just 30 minutes of said song on repeat. What can I say? I love it like cocaine.

(I don't do cocaine.)


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