Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Big Knife stick it to
the Big Apple
A report by The Very Rev. Juke Joint Johnny... pic by First Lady Karen McBurnie...
Well, they done it. Our young heroes from the Windy City descended upon Otto's Shrunken Head like a cool breeze, and left the locals begging for more after a tight 25 minutes of the punk rock, doled out in two minute hunks, Big Knife stylee! These kids can really pump out a terrifying sound. This reporter seemed to detect great slabs of Sabbath with notes of Flipper, but I hasten to add only the good parts of those, since I'd much rather listen to Big Knife than either of those dinosaurs.
Big Knife had a lot to say, and keeping the tunes to under two minutes, they wasted no time screaming it. The first selection of the evening was their own smasheroo “(I Don't Wanna Got To) Tutweiler”, a proven crowd sender, and it just got better from there. Hazel on bass, and Libby beating the skins became an unstoppable juggernaut of a rhythm section, as they screwed down a very heavy early 'Eighties postpunk groove over which Grant laid out his cold, metallic riff-age. That olde timey sound proved to be a shrewd strategy, given the unusual number of seniors in the audience.
Hazel managed most of the vocals in an unearthly shriek which resembled a Banshee with a bad head cold, a unique accomplishment for one of her tender years. The set flew by, which only proves Big Knife know the value of leaving 'em wanting more. The fracas screeched to such a sudden halt that the inimitable Ari Up was left pleading with the band to play a couple more, as she had missed most of the set. Apparently Ari had arrived a bit late, and then had some trouble getting into the club without i.d. (imagine Ari Up needing i.d.!) It happens.
But even with punk royalty begging them to extend their set, Hazel had to say no because she didn't want to cut into anybody else's time. That's integrity, friends. Or maybe they were out of songs. Either way, a memorable evening, and a rare one because it looks like Big Knife is on a farewell tour. From here it’s Cleveland or Hamtramck or Milwaukee or Chicago, but after those dates, that's all for Big Knife.