@ Kung Fu Necktie 1/26/12

Three multi-instrumental indie bands with folk/urban roots shared billing at Kung Fu Necktie . I was in attendance mainly to see Dare Dukes, a songwriter with insightful and thought-provoking lyrics. He presents a quiet and studious nature both onstage and off.     It was also my first time at the Fishtown dive populated tonight with many hipsters, and yours truly. No, I claim no hipster cred. I’m on the outside bringing you inside.   And inside were several dozen options for major and microbrews in pitchers and bottles. I had a $3 Kenzo.   Happilly, they are one of the few and proud local venues with the ‘citywide’ special.  Need I describe that? OK. It’s PBR and whiskey.  $4. The main floor space includes bumper pool (which I don’t ever recall seeing at a bar before); a wall display of classic beer cans (Blatz, Rheingold, Ballantine, and the like), plus a gold ‘hand’ that protudes upward from the display. Reminds me of the sentient gold ‘frog’ that rests in the main room at North Star Bar.
First up was  On The Water, a West Philly band with a charismatic lead singer Fletcher T. VanVliet.  Not exactly a Captain Beefheart band here. They are more like Tom Waits fronting an old-timey folk band complete with booming snare drum, toy piano, standup bass, accordion, and banjo.  Their 30-minute set was punctuted with humor & passion.  Fletcher is a good bandleader, literally stomping out tunes and battering a trusty acoustic.  He tore out one guitar string early in the set and did a quick change while Dan Martino on occardian led for one song.   Fletcher with Dan Timlin handle much of the stage banter..and several times insisted the audience wander closer to the stage. And there was a joke about doing a 6 minute song and requiring guitar tuning. Dan uttered “I think that’s the 6th Commandent..thou shalt tune thy guitar pre-6-minute song”.  Talking with Fletcher afterward, he cites another band, Pearl and the Beard, as an indie favorite.
Dare, with his band The Blackstock Collection have just released his second full-length, “Thugs And China Dolls”.. They had just played a favorite place in Brooklyn, Union Pool last night supporting Lucinda Black Bear.. Earlier in the week, the tour kicked off in Atlanta, the same locale where the album was recorded.  They will continue on the tour with a few shows in both the Midwest and along the southern half of the East Coast. Dare is from Savannah, GA and has a shared geographic connection with Jimmy Hughes, founder of the band Folklore who headlined this rainy evening.  Shortly before show time, bassist Jessie took a hit to her left eye with both her guitar strap and a wayward cable.  She took about 15 minutes to make a visible recovery and perform heroically during the band’s 30-minute set.  There is no typical Dare Dukes song; each song has several lead instruments, held together with Dare’s gentle voice, assisted by accordionst Gina.  They also sport a banjoist who occasionally played it with a bow. Keyboardist Phil worked keys and Korg in the far corner of the catercorner stage. For the last song they broke the fourth wall and peformed acoustic in arms length of the audience. Many people contribute their parts to the Dare Dukes sound; The Blackstock Collection’s touring group is a different one than is represented on both of Dare’s prior albums; notably, there are no horns on tour.
Folklore arises from Philly as well, tho hardly folk. One might expect them to be antifolk; their overt rock sound is tempered by clarinet (which was somewhat inaudible in the din), bass, violin (Andrew Keller, sporting a tie-dyed “Andrew Keller Experience t-
shirt) and Chad Arnett’s sweet-sounding lead guitar. Part of the songs center around a post-apocalyptic Earth involving all sorts of creatures.  I had mentioned to Jimmy afterward of a certain UK band who are doing much the same sort of concept. Fokllore’s songs were of medium-to-fast tempo, with one slower, droning song that recalled the proto-punk of The Velvet Underground and the modern rock of Yo La Tengo. Earlier in 2010 they supported Elf Power, and then did just a dozen shows 2011 while preparing their 13-song album “Home Church Road”
Want more photos? Check out the latest Facebook gallery
AUDIO from one of Dare’s tunes forthcoming.

One response to “@ Kung Fu Necktie 1/26/12

  1. Pingback: Radio Crystal Blue 1/29/12 news | radiocrystalblue

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