Wednesday, December 5, 2007

bad thoughts, good america

You never know who you'll run into at a Knitters concert. Stay long enough, you might even meet yourself.

After the first couple of songs in the crowded, overheated confines of Davy's Uptown Ramblers Club, I was having more than a few misgivings about the "Knitters" and their tangled mess of folk, country, and rockabilly. The licks were there, the steady backbeat of professionalism, but where was the heart and soul? Hidden behind the modulated ennui of Excene Cervenca? Brought down to hillbilly-punk mortality by John Doe's cold? I wasn't feeling it, despite, thank god, a smoke-free respite (thanks to Doe's cold) from the usual stuffy confines of the tomb that is Davey's.

Then they launched into an updated version of "I must not think bad thoughts" and shortly thereafter guitarist Dave Alvin keyed me, himself, the band and the crowd into the regenerative power of rock and roll. Very soon, backed with sweet rhythms from DJ Bonebrak, on drums, and Johnny Rae Bartel, on stand-up bass, and help from the good-looking Dead Rock West, the sweat began to pour, the party was on, and the mixed age crowd of acid-hick-punk rocksters was digging a collective grove and a representative portion of all age groups were documenting the experience with cell phone cameras and another round of drinks.
There were birthdays being celebrated, a knitter simultaneously doing the pogo and baby slippers next to the stage, and the understanding that folk and punk music are both about trying to change the world and having a good time in the process. Here's to all that and being in the trenches. Salut. Now go get some dirt and live music beneath your nails.

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