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  Hollywood, CA  
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The Alterknit Lounge in the Knitting Factory of Hollywood is a nice cozy room that fits maybe seventy-five people. There's not anything fancy about this room except and it fits the name Alterknit pretty well. It's like a big closet compared to the other room of the Factory. Like most small places in L.A., however, some great shows take place here. Also though the sound usually isn't great, due to the small size of the room. However, it's worth it to go to a show in an intimate area from time to time.

I've probably seen Kennedy play ten times in the last year (four times in October alone) and it's always a surprise when he and his band take the stage. This, however, was only the second or third show with a new drummer and it was somewhat apparent. Even with Kennedy's vocals and bass and the always impressive lead guitar of Eves, the grove just isn't quite there yet.

On the other hand, the new drummer did increase the aggressive nature of Kennedy's brand of straight ahead Rock & Roll. He blends the good old fashioned rock with intelligent and comical verses describing everything from "unprotected sex with a dead person" to the hazards of late night turkey pot pie. The band whipped through renditions of such classics as Cold Pussy and Brain in a Room as well as a brand new song Tight Pants. The band knows how to put on a show too, by involving audience members in the show. The finale featured the be-speckled Kennedy jumping on top of the bass drum only to let his momentum carry him all the way over into his brand new drummer's face!

I heartily recommend Kennedy to everyone I know for a good time at a show. Look for his record on Sea Level Records at your local indie record store.

Barsuk recording artist John Vanderslice, former frontman of MK Ultra and contributor to albums by Deathcab for Cutie, Mountain Goats, and Beulah, came on the stage shortly after untangling Kennedy's bass chord and rearranging thestage a bit. The stage set-up called for the drums at front stage left with steel guitar and bass in the back of the stage. It took a few minutes to get Vanderslice's odd layout set up, then on with the show.

Vanderslice's music is much mellower than Kennedy, but lyrically very similar at times, which served to unify this show. He also brought a new drummer along this time which added a much heavier rock sound to the normally subdued Vanderslice.

They played through as a host of great songs including Speedlab, Do You Remember, and My Old Flame as well as a brand new song which I really could not understand the title when he said it. Why do artists always muffle the names of new songs when they debut them live?

Anyway, if you are familiar with Vanderslice's usual style and song structure then you will be pleased with his upcoming work. His sound even rocks out a little more, which certainly presents a greater dynamic. In fact, he asked me what I thought after the show and I told him that it was really good and that it "rocked out" while giving the horns. Yeah, that's right...the horns. That certainly got a great laugh out of the people around. If you have a chance to check him out later this year you will assuredly enjoy it.

Although the performers at the Alterknit this Sunday night were very different than what i normally see, the under-current of fun music for fun people played out well. Not many people left the show between bands, and I think the general feeling of the crowd and artists became one as the show went on. I always look forward to seeing what Kennedy will do and say next and will always jump at the chance to hear John Vanderslice spin his music inductry yarns. I recommend them both to anyone looking for a night of quality music and a big smile.

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