New York Report 1 @ Knitting Factory 12/22/07
Posted Dec 22, 2007, by The Bear.
PART 1 of 3: Street Dogs, Darkbuster, One Short Fall, Males Noches @ Knitting Factory
Genre: Punk; Rock;
I landed at New York's La Guardia airport on the evening of December 18th for a two and a half week stay for the holidays, something I do every year, staying with my folks on the upper west side of Manhattan. The first show I saw upon my arrival was the Street Dogs at the (New York) Knitting Factory two nights after my arrival (on the 20th). I'm glad to report that although CBGBs is gone now, along with some other venerable clubs, the Punk scene in New York is alive and kicking. Certainly this was a crowded show for a cold Thursday evening in New York just as the holidays are arriving and everyone's going away.
So first a word about the New York Knitting Factory as opposed to the one in L.A., even though they're run by the same people. The one in New York is smaller. There is only one entrance that everyone has to use, regardless of which performance space you're going to - there are three, the main space on the first floor, which holds about 400, the Tap Bar which is one level below it, and a third space I have never seen which is even further underground than the Tap Bar is. There's also a front bar where bands sell merch. The whole club has a smaller and a more intimate, club-like, feel, and it's a lot less glitzy and more spartan in its decor.
The first band up was Males Noches, a hardcore band who are still quite new, as the singer made some comment about this being something like their twelfth show. They have considerable potential as a band, but they were hampered by some bad sound - something that seems to be a typical hazard of going first at such shows. However give them some time and they should develop well, certainly they bear watching.
The second band was One Short Fall, and with them the whole show kicked it up a few notches. They're a trio from New Jersey and they play an excellent mix of New-School-flavored Punk rock, with lyrical topics ranging from romance to politics. They were the first act to get the pit moving.
They were soon followed by Darkbuster, a band from Boston who, so their leader told me after the show, doesn't travel away from home much unless one of their friends' bands brings them (Street Dogs in this case). If that's so, then the rest of the country is missing out because Darkbuster is good - really good. They know how to tear up a show really hard, but their songs show a large musical diversity; sometimes they'll play with just the core band, and sometimes they'll bring out a horn section to play with them. The styles ranged from the Oi! of "Skinhead," the rock of "Danny Boy" (not the traditional song), the straight forward patriotism of "Stand and Deliver" (a song dedicated to the armed forces) to the slower ska of "Rudy" ("was a rude boy"). There's also a bit of an alcoholic theme that runs through some of their songs - this is band to drink to and to mosh too. They should play around the country more often.
It was around 10:30 PM when Street Dogs finally took the stage. For those who don't know Street Dogs was founded by the Dropkick Murphty's original singer some years after he left that band. They play in a similar style although you wouldn't mistake one for the other. They played a tight, hard set, proclaiming New York to be one of their favorite cities (after Boston of course) and consistently complimenting the crowd on its energy. The crowd, which was a surprisingly diverse crowd, made up of punks (both old-school and new school), skins, Oi! kids, hardcore kids, and even artsy types, responded with a steady mosh pit throughout the set, and those who didn't mosh drank instead (something Street Dogs' music is very conducive to). The Iraq war was on the band's mind quite a bit, with the emotional high-point coming during "Final Transmission" where the singer encouraged everyone who had a cell phone to hold it up so he could see the lights from them - and if you didn't have a phone, a lighter would do as well (apparently cell phones are now the new lighters for that sort of thing). And so it went. It was a high-spirited, high energy show, however there were no fights in the pit (thankfully). Possibly the season was working on the crowd because one young Punk complained to me that there was a lack of anger at the show that evening, to which I responded "come on, it's Christmas!"