It'll Never Fly in Peoria: Kosmos Hosts Peculiar Pretzelmen on Eva Ave. in Knife City

10:26 AM

Flier by Mark Beyer

by Samantha Anne Scott

On Saturday evening, don vestigial or revamped vaudeville duds and drive your bourbon-powered space shuttle over to The Kosmos (1715 Fifth NW) for a very special evening with El Lay's The Peculiar Pretzelmen and locals Knife City and Eva Ave. & Carlosaur.

Saturday evening's showcase, presented by local art hustlers and carny barkers Caterwaul, Cinik, and Stranger Factory and featuring El Lay old timey/good time quartet The Peculiar Pretzelmen, ABQ honky-tonk supergroup Knife City and local doom salon darlings Eva Ave. and Carlosaur, promises a diverse yet interconnected soundscape. "I'm really stoked to see The Kosmos being an active venue for underground, marginalized music again. It's so nice to witness performances within all that space underneath the vaulted ceiling. And I think all of the sets are gonna blend really well together too. If you're into Tom Waits, David Allan Coe, Bob Log III, gypsy rock/steampunk, street buskers, carny music, and generally have a twisted sense of humor, you're gonna love this," said Caterwaul.

On first listen to recordings of self-described "barn-burning gospel revival[ists] and punk rockers" The Peculiar Pretzelmen, it's difficult not to draw the Tom Waits comparison, but a deeper listen reveals craftsmanship and inspiration that a "sounds like" comparison does little justice. Dark literary leitmotifs, references to ragtime, and heavy winks of blues-inflected Americana combine with jangly, "old man's work bench" percussion and eldritch strains of banjo, mandocello, and ukulele and plumes of baritone sax to create a sound and aesthetic that remains firmly rooted in the '30s without sounding antiquated or anachronistic.

Cinik became a fan of The Peculiar Pretzelmen after seeing them perform with his friend Zoe Boekbinder several years ago. "I saw them three times on that tour and have been hooked ever since... I'm a firm believer that music this good should be shared and, because of that, I'm willing to do a lot to help the fantastic sounds of The Peculiar Pretzelmen take over our desert air," said Cinik.

The Peculiar Pretzelmen - Undertaker from Logan Taliaferro Carnehan on Vimeo.


ABQ honky-tonk supergroup Knife City genuinely fits this superlative genre description, comprised, as it is, of local music luminaries: Bud Melvin (The Grave of Nobody's Darling, Phantom Lake, Lionhead Bunny); Pat Day (Fando, Tenderizor); Steve Hammond (Leeches of Lore, Tenderizor); Nick Angelo; and Kris Kerby (Sabertooth Cavity, Tenderizor). Pedal steel guitarist Bud Melvin notes that this supergroup ain't about an ironic rendering of honky-tonk. "We play about half covers and half originals. It's pretty much straight up honky-tonk and is just done out of a love for that style of music," said Melvin. Lead guitarist and vocalist Steve Hammond echoed this sentiment. "It's just good old rowdy, tear in your beer honky-tonk! I've always enjoyed playing old school country music and have been in a couple honky-tonk bands in the past. No 'alt' prefix needed for this shit. Straight up," said Hammond.

Having survived the latest, necessarily abbreviated Sabertooth Cavity tour, Kris Kerby is psyched to be playing snare drum for Knife City. "I've always had a tiny urge to play with a honky-tonk band -- ever since I figured out I could play drums -- but never thought I'd come across one that's so good. I grew up in a small farm village, around people who either blasted honky-tonk, mariachi, or classic rock music while boozin' and cruisin' down to the river. So, it always makes me feel at home. And most of Knife City's lyrics are filthy and dark and that's right up my alley," said Kerby.

TIL was unable to reach local doom salon darlings Eva Ave. and Carlosaur for comment, but rest assured these locals can charm the fangs off a rattlesnake. See the below-embedded video for illustration of this claim.



The Peculiar Pretzelmen
with Knife City, Eva Ave. & Carlosaur

Saturday, Aug. 27, 8:30 p.m.

The Kosmos
1715 Fifth NW
Tickets: $7, all-ages
RSVP on Facebook

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