The Brooklyn-based septet of Butcher Knives are a self-proclaimed “gyspybilly” band with a rather diverse array of influences such as Mano Negra, the Clash, Johnny Cash, Gogol Bordello, Bob Marley, bluegrass, flamenco, Eastern European folk, rockabilly and psychobilly. And the release of their latest single, “Tell Me Why,” off the band’s forthcoming album Misery, the band’s sound bears a similarity to the work of another local band whose sound is derived from Eastern Europe and punk rock – Astoria’s Bad Buka. In other words, a sound that manages to be intensely ecstatically, passionate and yet danceable.
The septet’s set at Piano’s last week was a little odd because the typical Piano’s crowd tends to hang back and be reluctant observers. And as much as the band tried their best to get the crowd going, it always seemed that the crowd was too “jaded” to just have fun. Sadly, that’s par for the course, and throughout their set, I wondered if it would get over at some other venue where the crowd was more willing to have fun. But after a while, most of the crowd sort of got into it after a while.
Still, i was impressed by the band’s energy and passion. I just wish they were around crowd that was more into them. At several points their lead singer, stood on top of their drummer’s drum kit or on top of his mic stand/drum set up, attempting to get the crowd to chant along with them. They even had an impressive solo by their bassist – he plays both a stand up bass, and electric bass – where he sat on top of his bass, which is something I haven’t seen very often. And thematically some of the material concerned itself with the plight of being an immigrant – or of an experience that has become familiar to me, the experience of being a stranger in a foreign land.
For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here: