November 16th, 2011

Loopster Live: The Knux w/ Jordy Towers and Electric Attitude at Fitzgerald’s

When I saw that The Knux were coming to Houston, I immediately marked it on my calendar. They are one of those bands that I had instantly fallen in love with for no particular reason. An off-beat hip hop duo out of New Orleans with quirky lyrics and solid beats and riffs.

Unfortunately, they found themselves playing on a Monday night and the promotion of the show wasn’t effective enough to get more than forty people or so inside Fitzgerald’s. The lack of heads had no consequence on the concert. Fitz teemed with the onstage energy from the get go with Houston’s Electric Attitude starting off the night.


The funk band took over the stage at 9:30 and eventually took over the rest of the room. Blake Shephard, couldn’t handle the confined space allotted to the five-man band and jumped into the crowd, Budweiser in one hand, the microphone in the other, in a fit of dancing that would have made Thom Yorke jealous.


With solid guitar play and a healthy dose of sax, Electric Attitude played a number of new songs during their set. And, no, I didn’t know that until I overheard one fan congratulate the band after the show. That’s a mistake that I won’t make again. Their attitude did more than enough to ensure my paying attention to any future shows that they may have around town.


Picking up where the opener left off, Jordy Towers managed to multiply the staged enthusiasm. The sprite-like musician from Los Angeles hopped around the stage from start to finish like he was in front of a room of hundreds instead of tens. Bouncing around in his gray tuxedo with his mash-up of musical influences pumping over the speakers from his three person back-up band, it made me want to introduce him to Motown revivalist, Mayer Hawthorne for a collaboration.


Starting off with “Spaceboy Boogie“, Towers didn’t let off on the throttle until he got backstage. Even then, he couldn’t be contained. His manager grabbed me from the crowd to ask “are you with the paper?” In an effort of honesty, I replied “sort of” before he pulled me into the back for a photo op. I shook hands with the out-of-breath singer as he jumped from apologizing for the show (which he didn’t need to do) to trying to figure out how we were going to take some photos. “Let me do one with a little attitude,” he said as I showed him the display from my camera. That’s how we arrived at this one.


By the time The Knux made their way to the stage, the clock was already pushing past 11:00PM. The rumblings from “Intro” on their second album Eraser led the brothers into the embrace of their Houston fans. With Joey concentrating on his guitar play, Krispy focused on directing the crowd throughout the night. “Everybody move closer… OK, Stop!” he demanded as The Knux paused before venturing into “She’s So Up.”


The dynamism on stage was somewhat shocking. So much so, my friend wondered aloud between songs “how do they do it” regarding a national band playing to a less than full crowd. Krispy spent the evening reaching out into the crowd, interacting at every turn with individuals entranced by the music. With one of the most expressive faces I’ve seen on stage in a while — sneers, curled lips, wide terror-ridden eyes — Krispy entertained even when he appeared to be stagnant in front of the microphone stand.


The duo played with a full complement of instruments – bass and drums in addition to Joey’s lead guitar – plus a DJ to help out on some songs like “Cappuccino” a hit from the first record Remind Me in Three Days. The show was the blend of rock and hip hop that we had all been promised. But there was more emphasis on the instrumental side than I would have predicted. Joey only slung his guitar around his back two or three times to concentrate solely on rhymes.


The Knux only performed three songs from their debut album while concentrating on Eraser. Judging from crowd reactions alone, I couldn’t quite tell which of the two albums was the most anticipated. “Run” got a huge response in the first half of the set as did “Eraser” and “Bang! Bang!” the back-to-back combo that sent we fans into the night. Perhaps the people in attendance were there for the full experience instead of one song.


It was apparent that The Knux have honed their on-stage craft and will be a force to be reckoned with. If you weren’t there (and judging on attendance, you skipped), you missed out on one of the more intense live concerts that’s come through Houston. With the gig being downstairs it was nearly a hands on experience as each of the three bands poured out into the crowd. Maybe you’ll take our advice in the future.

Set List (at least what I pieced together):
“She’s So Up”
“The Train”
“I See Stars”
“You Can’t Lose”
“Dead World”
“Beautiful Liars”
“Bang! Bang!”

— Paul


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