The world is an exceptionally crazy place as of late, but at least there are still unlimited banger rock shows as catharsis. High Voltage curated a great one Friday night at Knitting Factory, with the stacked bill of Lost Boy ?, Dead Stars, Grim Streaker, and Monograms. Earlier that day I was DJing at Two Boots Pizza, so I was already feeling satisfactorily full of pizza, wine, and great tunes, and this show was quite the knock out kick off of the weekend.
Lost Boy? Is hot. In a genuine, real punk ethos kind of way. Their live show is also a great, full-on rock out translation of main man Davey Jones’ recorded material. On his albums, Jones is largely a one-man show, playing many of the instruments and parts himself and writing great lo fi pop bedroom songs. Live, he’s joined by a full band which frees him up to really wild out on the mic and work the stage, jump into the crowd, and just communicate his songs 100%. His denim vest with a big DIE TRUMP DIE patch that he wore for his performance is about as punk as you can get. Yeah baby, he’s got it.
Calm punks Dead Stars delivered their signature 90s garage sound in their preceding set like the pros they are. I remember when I first saw these guys years ago, and was so impressed with their tight niche of crunchy, melodic grunge nostalgia and stage presence. They played an album release show at Union Pool that I still remember as being one of the best live experiences I’ve ever had; the kind where you look around the room and connect with total strangers because you know you’re riding that same righteous sound wave and embracing that good, good feeling. This show was very much in that same wheelhouse, as they played through many new and songs and old favorites, to a crowd full of friends. Dead Stars also seem to be one of those bands that can really crank out new tunes in no time, as word is many of their newest songs were recorded in one day. So basically Dead Stars is that forever 90s teenager love child of Guided by Voices and Sebadoh.
Because this lineup was curated so well (shoutout and props again to High Voltage) Grim Streaker was also a fitting and captivating set in this well-rounded night of music.
I could have gotten drunk off of just watching frontwoman Amelia Bushell’s performance. In fact, I think I did. I can’t speak to her actual level of intoxication, but her on-stage antics were a total riot. We can never have enough women in music who perform like they do (clap) not (clap) give (clap) a (clap) fuck. More of this, please. While the rest of the band, including members of The Teen Age, rolled out the riffs, she crawled and rolled around on stage, slammed full beers to the ground, and delivered visceral growing vocal hollers. Don’t turn your back on these babies, they’ll rip you a new one when you’re not looking.
Another thing all these bands have in common is that they’re all playing Northside Festival in a few weeks check out the full schedule for dates and times.