"We're always getting called 'indie schmindie.' Tell me, do the Arctic Monkeys have a song that sounds like that?" Young Knives singer Henry Dartnall was getting just a bit defensive, not at anyone in the Mercury Lounge audience, but at certain critics/bloggers who tend to see them as also-rans. Sure, there's some disco hi-hat and spiky guitars on all the Young Knives albums, but there's a lot more going on there too: odd, distinctive harmonies, more than a little acid folk and mushroom tea psychedelia, consistently good lyrics, and catchy tunes. All of which were in full effect at the show. Plus some hilarious brotherly bickering between Henry and Thomas Darntall.
Henry's little outburst could've just been the heat. Monday was Day Three of upper-90s temperatures which was taking it's toll on the band who were playing their last show of a NYC-Philly offensive. I have a feeling that the "hot summer, hot hot summer" sung about in "Weekends and Bleak Days" is probably only about 80 degrees. (that's 26° C centigrade!) He added, "It's tough for us fat guys. I'm a little squodgy down there I have to admit." They really need to stop going on about their weight -- guy's you're really not fat.
Squodginess aside, this was easily the best of the four Young Knives shows I've seen. (That's right, I've seen them four times.) It was also the first show where there was a full house to see them, with genuine fans besides myself and my friend Heather. When the band lit into "Weekends and Bleak Days" there were cheers from the back of the room and a group of ten or so pushed their way to the front and made one of the politest mosh pits I've ever seen -- after bumping into a girl and spilling her drink, the offending reveler immediatley apologized. Which probably says as much about the Young Knives as does their music.
The set was mostly about their fine new album, Superabundance -- most of it was played, though surprisingly not the single "Up All Night." We also got "The Decision," "Coastguard" and and encore of "She's Attracted To" which really sent the pit into hysterics. Young Knives still aren't getting the respect they deserve, but it seems they're getting closer.
SETLIST: fit 4 u | counters | terra firma | rue the day | coastguard | i can hardly see them | turn tail | dyed in the wool | weekends and bleak days | the decision | current of the river | she's attracted to
MP3: Young Knives - Fit 4 U
MP3: Young Knives - Up All Night
Buy Superabundance, won't you? And a season-appropriate song from Voices of Animals and Men:
MP3: Young Knives - Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)