The Dead South – Powerstation: April 5, 2024 (Concert Review)

Originating from the frosty plains of Canada in 2012, The Dead South has honed their sound into a seamless fusion of folk, bluegrass, and dark country, performing an exceptional 90-minute set to the crowd at Auckland’s Powerstation last night.

William Crighton

William CrightonAustralian singer-songwriter William Crighton opened the evening with a 40-minute solo set, belting his blended Nashville-Queensland vocal style acapella into the audience to immediately captivate the vocal and rowdy crowd. Jesus Blues and Stand had the crowd joining in and singing to various degrees of effectiveness, but Crighton’s consistent and confident crowd engagement maintained the pace and energy throughout.

There’s a sense of experienced resilience in his pace and rhythm, both in committing to and developing his musical and lyrical craft, but also in the performance – an authenticity that’s almost chameleonic to a certain degree, where you can visualise Crighton with his guitar on stage at an outdoor Australian Blues festival or in a grimy roadhouse bar on the outskirts of California.

Closing with On My Way – a song reflecting on the great stupidity of war – and with his 12-string guitar snapped into a 10-or-9-string from the previous song, the lower bass level of the song ended the set on a fitting note, with the crowd giving an extended applause that saw Crighton from the stage.

The Dead South

Dressed in muted monochromatic attire befitting their folk-bluegrass aesthetic, The Dead South wasted no time diving into their set, starting with the energetic Blood on the Mind. Nate Hilts‘ vocals reminded me a little of The White Buffalo at multiple points throughout the evening, and immediately melted through the intricate banjo riffs and the mournful wail of a cello to set the tone for the excitable crowd.

William CrightonAs they transitioned seamlessly into Yours to Keep, Danny Kenyon’s gritty vocals came close to channeling Lemmy and Ace of Spades with its ferocious raspy growl. The Recap started with a heavy, almost funeral-like intro before launching into a whirlwind of sharp folk-country strumming. Scott Pringle added an emotional depth to the performance of Travellin’ Man, with Colton Crawford‘s foot-stomping bass drum added a sudden and irresistible rhythm to the number.

The band paused to take a swig from a bottle on stage during Time For Crawlin’ before the shared, White Buffalo-esque vocals shone through in Diamond Ring and 20 Mile Jump. The instrumental Clemency provided a brief interlude between Kenyon and Pringle, overlapping their instruments in a sombre conversation, before Completely Sweetly utilised the kick drum once again to great effect, drawing the crowd in with its consistent rhythm and country-rock vibe.

Tiny Wooden Box and That Bastard Son showcased the band’s performance prowess, with synchronised movements across the stage and positive crowd sing-alongs punctuating the second half of the set as the band clearly moved into their more famous numbers, closing with the predictably amazing In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company and Honey You, a fitting finishing song, complete with a stellar cello solo and that consistent Dark-Timeline Mumford and Sons energy.

The DEad South

The encore saw the band return to the stage for Broken Cowboy and Banjo Odyssey, ending the evening on a high note and waving off to a very satisfied crowd. Massive respect for the incredibly generous and extended thank you to the venue, bar staff, crew, and audience in an authentic expression I haven’t seen on stage in quite some time.

But that’s the charm of The Dead South; they’re unique in their sound and their love for the music itself. There’s plenty of joy and performance woven throughout their grim and gritty lyrics and melodies, and this was never more evident than on stage last night – where exceptional musicians seemed entirely in their element, both refined and playfully relaxed, and where a four-piece from a cold corner of the world brought the musical warmth we all hope to experience from a live performance.

Oxford Lamoureaux

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Aaron Christiansen:

The Dead South:

William Crighton:

The Dead South Setlist:

 Blood On The Mind

Yours To Keep

The Recap

Travellin’ Man


Black Lung

A Little Devil

Time for Crawlin’

Diamond Ring

20 Mile Jump


Completely, Sweetly

Tiny Wooden Box

That Bastard Son

In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company

Honey You


Broken Cowboy

Banjo Odyssey