Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bent Knee: MPLS Show w/Air Lands @ The Entry 7/24/17 + General Thoughts

So, I delayed this review unintentionally, just caught up in things with work, home, and then trying to finish the 1977 Albums Calendar.

And as I posted in that entry, I ended up skipping Roger Waters, in-effect for this show in some ways (the wife doesn't like me attending too many shows in 1 week, which I can see her reasoning to a point).

But Bent Knee I finally got to see on Monday evening at the Entry along with 2 local openers, Oklahoma and Air Lands.

Both the openers I found were good, Air Lands especially. And maybe partly per having Sarah Perbix from Cloud Cult play with them.

I should be checking out their studio recordings soon, but from the live performance, I would describe Air Lands as sort of Psych/Singer Songwriter. Kind of like Elton John or Warren Zevon (or Randy Newman I suppose) meets like The Besnard Lakes or The Beach Boys (I saw The Flaming Lips and Bon Iver among their influences, which I can follow and have no issue with despite not caring for those artists music much).

And Air Lands has 2 albums out I guess. They are from MN, went to NY at 1 point, and now have come back?

Anyway, certainly a band to watch further as they have a show at The Icehouse next week even.

But Bent Knee, here's what I guess is the set list (taken from the 25th in Kansas?)

Time Deer
Holy Ghost
Being Human
Insides In
These Hands
Land Animal
Leak Water
Belly Side Up
The Well
Terror Bird
Battle Creek

But their performance was awesome. Incredible energy, pulling off the dynamics and nuances live. They do have 1 member who is at a laptop but using some kind of sampler or sequencer or something, which I'm suspecting is for a lot of the string parts, etc.

But their violinist rocks out really well. Guitars, vocal sections from Courtney Swain and the rest of the band. Ferocious drumming, rhythmic bass lines from Jessica.

If I had only 1 issue, I guess was the mix. At times they were so loud, the vocals sounded drowned out, although I actually stood in front so maybe where I was hearing them had something to do with that.

So, to go on about Bent Knee. Great people as I met bassist Jessica, Ben Levin whose their guitarist, their drummer Gavin after the show. And I briefly got to speak with Courtney Swain their lead singer as well. Even mentioned the J.P. Bouvet track she sang on, etc Told her about the Art and All That Jazz festival from a few years ago, Super Pilots/Mike Linden, etc. She mentioned when they were at Berklee, his band and hers were kind of rivals, which is an interesting anecdote.

But I have not posted extensively about Bent Knee in here. I included Say So, on my 2015-2016 end of year list of course, but beyond that and the new album Land Animal, not a ton.

I kind of want to LOVE them, and am starting to get closer to that point. Their music has a ton going on. It's very schizophrenic. Circus Rock of a kind. I told Jessica, they remind me of 2 bands among others. 1 being Kiss Kiss, the other uneXpect. They have a lot of crazy time changes, textures, moods, etc. But I think maybe what works best for me is kind of like some Tech/Death or Fjokra or something where most of their songs have sections I absolutely love and look forward to. Maybe the best example is on the title track to Land Animal, the absolutely gorgeous/melancholy vocal melody that Courtney has "Sending out a message when I worry too much"..and then later it is echoed on Violin and other strings.

The title track to Land Animal, as I told Jessica, is definitely 1 of the best songs I've heard this year. It's haunting.

So, I purchased Shiny Eyed Babies and Say So on CD and Land Animal on vinyl at the show. I don't think I had ever heard SEB until yesterday. And my of my, it totally got my jaw dropping! There's 3 or 4 songs, just 1 time through that floored me. "In God We Trust" maybe being the most. "Battle Creek" "I'm Still Here" "Sunshine" among the rest of the album.

So, my take on Bent Knee and all the hype among the prog scene, I kind of follow, maybe more than before.

Now, if they could only go on tour with someone I would love to see them with. The Dear Hunter is an obvious one, and I guess Chris Baum? played on TDH's Migrant, so Casey knows him and likely the band.

But if not them, The Mercury Tree? (or Brice Plays Drums, or Bubblemath locally. Kai from Bubblemath actually was at the show and ended up hosting the band at his house I guess, which was very cool of him to do so).

The Reign of Kindo, The Family Crest, Bend Sinister would be some other obvious names who are active. Of course Josh Benash or a Kiss Kiss/Vuvuzela reunion (or uneXpect).

or SikTh too. the crazy, circus prog stuff would probably do well with their crowd.

Between the Buried and Me or Native Construct even.

Bent Knee are heavy enough, the (avant-garde/prog) Metal crowd likely would dig them. And they did open for The Dillinger Escape Plan a few years ago. I even met a guy at the show who was talking up In Flames and I brought up my favorite Melodic Death Metal bands to him (Dark Tranquility and Soilwork namely).

But to end this chapter in my Bent Knee-week excursion, I now am starting to see them as 1 of those bands who I hope continues to succeed and make awesome music and play great shows. I guess we'll see. I still haven't even checked out their debut album nor an acoustic record they did a little while back.

Oh and I thought Monday was their 1st MN concert, but it wasn't.

they mentioned playing in Minnesota once before. June 16th, 2014 at the Hexagon bar. If only I had known about them then, lol. 2 days before the 1 and only time I saw Agalloch (RIP) in Minnesota.

Also 1 more note about Sarah, I ended up seeing her at The Depot before the show. Had no clue she knew about this show nor Bent Knee, which as it turns out, she hadn't. She's not really a progrock person, but yet she is a great musician and plays with Cloud Cult which I told her, I consider prog of a kind. And I can see why she would would work playing with Air Lands now. I wonder, if it made sense and were possible, if she may would contribute to some of their new music. A multi-instrumentalist and singer like her really could add a lot potentially to an already cool band.