1 December 2012
Arelene’s Grocery, New York
First, just an obvious note that Johan wasn’t with me at this show and the photos presented were taken by myself with a compact camera from the crowd, hence the poor quality.
With a few days holiday in New York planned, I quickly started digging around to find a show to attend. Checking out a few bands online, on hearing Still Here, the lead track on Killcode’s debut full length release, said album and the two proceeding EP’s were quickly purchased from iTunes and tickets acquired for the band’s show at Arlene’s Grocery.
As its name suggests, Arlene’s used to be a Puerto Rican grocery store and opened as a bar/venue in 1995. In the late 90s they acquired the neighbouring butcher’s shop, turning Arlene’s into the two room establishment it is today with a separate bar and 150 capacity venue. Famous names that have graced its stage include The Strokes and Jeff Buckley.
The venue was fairly packed with expectant fans as we squeezed our way nearer the front in anticipation of Killcode’s set. Opening with three songs from their debut 2009 EP To Die For, immediately we were impressed by the sonics of this small venue with a well balanced mix. It was quickly apparent that the band have a talent fit for bigger venues and in Tom Morrissey they have a frontman with a strong voice and stage presence.
Morrissey began putting Killcode together with guitarist Chas Banellis in 2008, recruiting bassist Erric Bonesmith, drummer Rob Noxious and Slunt guitarist Pat Harrington. The band’s sound mixes modern punchy hard rock with an occasional Southern twist. Hammer rolled like a train on Bonesmith’s bass line with guitars stabbing, meanwhile Hands Up was as direct as its name suggest with an infectious chorus that indeed raised a few hands. That song ushered in a run of five songs lifted from the band’s latest release being their self-titled debut album from this year.
Opium Dogs’ mid paced heavy riffing and impassioned vocals recalled Alice In Chains, before Killcode picked up the pace with the swift and sleazy Bad Mother with Morrissey singing “I’m a bad muthaf**ker”. Still Here meanwhile could be the best song Black Stone Cherry haven’t written. Catchy as hell, bourbon drenched and augmented by slide guitar from Harrington, it’s the song that could catch ears and move Killcode on to bigger things.
Heading back to their debut EP, 6am Again is understandably popular with the band’s fans at the front and there’s still time to squeeze in Devil Song which sounded like 80s hard rock updated for the current decade.
Killcode have the songs and attitude to take things to a much higher level and perhaps one day will be added to the famed names of band’s that once played Arlene’s Grocery.
Goes Down Easy / L.I.T.A. / Truce / Hammer / Hands Up / Time / Opium Dogs / Bad Mother / Still Here / 6am Again / Devil Song