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King Cobb Steelie In London Review
King Cobb Steelie, The Embassy, January 26th
Tonight was bad weather and worse luck. Really freaking Cold and Wet. A
lot of people were probably at the Embassy to see if it was still there.
Whatever it was that made King Cobb Steelie so damn good. There had been
no touring, no recordings, no word other than guitar and drum troubles.
Thoughts of chucking it all were heard as whispers. Kevan Byrne had, it
was said, a new band. In short, the same message too many bands give to
the people, especially in Canada: "Thanks for Caring, and we tried, but
this isn't working out." I mean, the litany of the fallen is as long as
your arm- Jellyfish Babies, Diodes, Grapes of Wrath, Sloan, Lowest of
the Low... It's tough to be in a band in Canada; long distances, small
market, moronic A&R. (Three words, slurred into one; RainbowButtMonkeys.
If you know someone in a band, you can say it so it sounds as dirty as
Then the word came; new drummer- Sam Cino of The Cabbage - so, Great
new Drummer. Plans to record. And a few gigs around and about. But good
intentions don't sound like anything.Spin Control happens in rock. Like
Othello, we demand the proof ocular, and audible; we wanted to see and
hear it. We knew Salmonblaster were playing across town- local boys,
and they always rock, and while they'd be playing again soon enough, it
still felt like a mistake missing them. We hoped that KCs were as good
as we thought, as we remembered.
We were not dissapointed.
I don't leave a KCS show singing all the songs, like I do with Sloan; I
don't leave it with an ache in my heart like a Weeping Tile show; I
don't go out rubbing my belly and sweaty, like I do at an Adam West
show. I leave, left tonight, will leave in the future, a KCS show
feeling wrung out and happy, like a wave of sensory overload picked me
up and slowly, methodically, ground me against the walls of the room .
While I danced. There's a possible point of discussion as to whether KCS
are the world's loudest jazz band or the world's most intricate metal
combo; whether they're Punks with Funk or Funky with Punk. Do they
deliver hot rythym rock or hypnotic dub or both ? Is it the cool
feedback and electronic samples of Don Pyle or the Soaking organics of
Byrne's voice and hands on bongos that defines the KCS sound ?
What kind of music do KCS play ? Every Kind; the good kind. Put the
Afghan Whigs in front of Tricky with The Mad Professor and Albini
splitting production and Miles Davis conducting- then throw all that
Rock-crit crap in the same ashcan that KCS used to burn their copy of
the rules. They have the discipline to stop and start on a dime and the
bravery to throw the map out the window doing a hundred.
They mentioned a new album, and that's good- although it's hoped that
the mistake of last time is avoided. Choosing Bill Laswell over Albini
took one of the best Rock bands in the world and turned them into a
neutred, droning lounge act.Lyrically..well, let's be honest. If you put
a gun in my mouth and told me that only singing a full KCS song would
save me, you'd be washing my blood outta your pant cuffs. It's almost
impossible to know what words Kevan says anwhere, but everone in the
audience knows how he and the band and the song feel. Howling "Rezhihst
against MAAAH-Sehf, Rezholve against MAAAH-Sehf" with loathing and joy
in his sound while the band make a perfect noise which is exactly like
that much hatred and determination feels like....and that was the third
song. People danced, shuffled, grooved, moved, and shook with the fun
and furor of the KCS. KCS did not need a new album to make the people
move, tonight. They had everthing they needed, no worries, doin' fine.
They filed-stripped some new songs and oiled them with the crowd's sweat
until they worked even more perfectly.
Everyone seemed to leave happy and convinced- including , it seemed,
KCS. They sweated and lugged gear and sold stuff out of a box. And they
knew as well as anybody what exactly mattered and what didn't. The past,
troubled and worrisome, was a memory. The future was outside, in the
rain, cold and soaked and waiting to explode with the promise of spring
rebirth. King Cobb Steelie are ready for it.
By James Rocchi, 1996. All rights reserved.
See Id On-Line at http://www.idmagazine.org/