A couple of weeks ago, I went on a date (a rare date these days, it seems) with a lovely young woman that I had met while covering the Your Skull My Closet/Radkey show at the Mercury Lounge and after stopping at John Brown Smokehouse for some Kansas City-styled BBQ, we had stopped by Piano’s to catch Outernational, Bad Buka, Escarioka and Butcher Knives – a night of international genre bending and genre stretching music. it was the the sort of sound that’s generally unusual at Piano’s and unusual for most of the venues across the Lower East Side, and arguably most of the city. I didn’t take any formal notes and in fact, instead of actually covering the show I actually was more or less there as an average person (which is honestly so rare for me that I don’t quite know what to do when I’m there).
Outernational’s set was frankly kind of annoying because I felt that their lead singer was trying way too hard – the intensity he was trying to convey felt forced and phony. In fact his displays of emotion were often a distraction to the actual musicianship, which wasn’t as their lead singer conveyed the sound of the future. It was just a band that played on the fringes of actually being inventive or experimental.
Bad Buka is one of the more consistent acts around. And during their set, it was the first time that i saw people at Piano’s become genuinely excited and start jumping and dancing about in joy – especially after a song they did that sounded a quite a bit like a demented traveling church show but fun as hell.
Escarioka’s sound managed to mesh reggae, punk. European folk and other genres in a way that felt at times alien and yet strangely familiar – mainly because it most often employed the dub step and punk. It was actually the first time I had seen anyone mosh at Piano’s ever.
And by the time Butcher Knives came on stage, the crowd got rowdy, so rowdy that the entire room felt like a mosh pit. It was finally the crowd that got them and their sound – the crowd that they so deserved, who returned their high energy with even higher energy. It was pretty fucking intense.
After the show, I wound up with a few members of Bad Buka at Snack Dragon Taco Shop for a a beer and some tacos, and we wound up at a rave at the Paper Box. As it turned out, our mutual friend Mike Tummulo was DJ’ing there. I somehow missed his set because I got enraptured by the DJ’s spinning drum ‘n’ bass. But while I was there I caught a painter finishing up a piece inspired by the music and some people in some really wild costumes – I saw someone dressed up as 10th century Viking, a pirate or two, a woman as Medusa and others.
The painters’ finished piece, which glowed brightly in the dark for all to see.
The DJ was on stage behind the 1s and 2s as dancers shook their asses on the stage. I wish I could have gotten closer but it was so crowded that I couldn’t get to the front as quickly as i would have liked. Still it was a ton of fun.
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: