And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead...
Conrad Keely shuffles around in the yard, sips at his coffee and squints against the humble spring sun. It’s noon and he is about to wake up while his bandmates Jason Reece and Kevin Allen adjust their sunglasses. A shooting should have already taken place the last time And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead toured Vienna, a year ago. Yet the art-rock band, launched in Austin, Texas, had set to sleep when we passed by the venue that late afternoon. A rock band’s tour life is said to be exhausting, so it’s fair enough to witness the guys rising at noon and see – most notably Conrad – getting more and more into the performance. His singing, still frail at this hour of the day, adds to the to date unreleased song “Never Seen Scars So Deep” an all-to-true vulnerability. The lo-fi version of one of their grandest anthems, the otherwise highly explosive “The Rest Will Follow”, turns out not less convincingly, before they finally get more aloud and exhilarated on “Luna Park”. Encoring with a chewing gum commercial, there is no doubt that Trail Of Dead are eventually awaken.
Wuk is short for Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus (Workshop and Culture House) – is not only a venue for concerts. The brick building with its charmingly sleazy cobbled courtyard hosts 130 groups and initiatives, which produce all kinds of non-mainstream-art. The cultural center is subsidised by the City of Vienna, but the groups work autonomously and self-governed. Apart from the concert hall, studios and workshops there is also a café with a nice outdoor area in the WUK courtyard and a self-help bicycle repair shop. The 19th century building was originally used as a factory for train engines. In 1884, the Technologisches Gewerbemuseum (Technologic Trade Museum) moved into today’s WUK and turned it into a place of science, education and exhibitions with the purpose to keep the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy up-to-date in questions of technological development. The monarchy was more than half a century gone when there were still engineers trained in Währinger Straße 59. In 1981, the building was handed over to an association of alternative Viennese artist, teachers, students and other activists.