This past Friday, Knockdown Center in Maspeth, Queens played host to a great night of music from Samantha Crain, Amigo the Devil, and Murder By Death. Music that’s been described as alt-country, gothic country, and dark folk due to its roots in country western and folk mixed with a darker sound and subject matter.
Opening the night was Oklahoma native, Samantha Crain, who has laid down vocals for MBD in the past and toured with just about everyone. While she has a decidedly country-western influence, her music at times has a darker, moody vibe. Like you could picture her playing a few tunes at Twin Peaks’ Roadhouse bar while the Log Lady watches on. And while she’s clearly a beautiful singer-songwriter with a voice to match, she’s pretty funny and had more than one person googling “fluffer” before her set was over.
Next up was Amigo the Devil, and from the get-go it was a raucous, funny, rockin’ set that had the crowd chanting along. If Ms. Crain brings Twin Peaks to mind, then ATD takes you down to the Titty Twister in From Dusk til Dawn albeit without the bloodshed. Amigo is Danny Kiranos and his influences range wide, from southern fried country rock to heavy folkin’ metal that finds him going from banjo to electric guitar. Subject matters can be dark but it’s always with a wink and a smile and if you’re unsure you can just look at the backdrop of cats or Kiranos’ Home Alone 2 t-shirt and realize he’s not taking himself too seriously.
Amigo the Devil
Moving from a backdrop of cats, the stage transformed to a cactus filled desert landscape at night as Murder By Death took the stage. Currently on tour to support their recently released ninth album, Spell/Bound, the night mixed songs from their now two-decade long career. While the guitar ferocity at times matches that of Amigo, MBD also fills out their sound with cello, violin, keyboards, and trumpet. That mix allows for a broad range of songs from whiskey-soaked “Until Morale Improves, the Beatings Will Continue” to the marching band drums of “Foxglove” to gorgeous violin/cello/piano lead-off single “Never Be.” And not to be outdone in the we-don’t-take-ourselves-too-seriously department, the crowd was treated to a “Pizza Party! (at Gloria Estefan’s House).” If I ever do actually get to spend a night in the desert, I think Friday’s setlist would be the ultimate soundtrack.
Murder By Death
MBD and ATD still have more shared dates in August and September so throw on your black eyeliner and cowboy hat and join them.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)
AMIGO THE DEVIL
MURDER BY DEATH