by Jeff Milo
Gawkers-all, ...swaying aloof in the apocalyptic heat, faint beads of sweat caked at the corners of our eyes and our ears reddened by the burning sun.
Amassed at the large boxy stage on Troy Street, the shores of whirling Woodward, the waning hours of the Pig & Whiskey Festival on Sunday night and this crowd needed a scaly-toed karate kick to the jaw...and these unassuming gentlemen, looking like they'd just gotten done brawling in dim basement besotted with busted shelving units and old T.V.'s and low-hanging ductwork and sunspot-spitting furnaces... were just the ones to do it.
Child Bite. Freak force. Uncaged, unhinged... On point, on time, focused... Jazz-like in freeform meanderings but nothing cool about it, the four black-shirted bodies, faces framed in frayed hairs wrung in sweat, appeared as a hulking submarine crashing and grinding and shattering all its mass into stoic glaciers with a tumult of grinning ferocity.
Singer/guitarist/wild-Wizard Shawn Knight chose his words carefully towards the end of their set of pinball-body-flailing thunder-ruckus, thanking the crowd "for standing there and looking" at them... Some couldn't move because of heat, others couldn't move because of awe. Yes, it was 94 degrees and probably felt like 101...out there on the grilled concrete, all of us addled by whiskey or malty beer and bombarded by mists of roasting pig flesh, all of us cooked, just cooked... But maybe it was all we could do, those of us who were really trying to plug into the monstrosity-mother-board radiating in synchronized rhythm and roller-coaster roar up on that sun-slapped stage, just to stand and watch. I did try bobbing my head, stomping my feet, losing myself with the same skydiver's velocity of those bearded gents up there in their feedback-thrummed frolic of snarl and rubbernecking melody and disorienting hooks, I tried, but it was something else just to keep your eye on them and be reminded of what's possible during these still-yet-sacred ceremonies of live LIVE music...RE-invigoration. Plus, one had to consider the sensibility for wariness to avoid a possible guitar-neck-chop to the face when Knight scurried down off the stage to shred and swing among the heat-dazed crowd.
If they were able to rattle us up sufficiently even in that heat, with distractions of brandy and burnt bacon, then imagine the possibilities when the sun will be down, when the doors will be closed, when the sound rebounds and the air can be conditioned and we can all really focus, just as focused as these heavy-metal-jazz-disrupters are in the midst of their knotty squalls.