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
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
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.