18th March | Fleece
When trying to describe Knower to my housemates, my boyfriend labelled them as ‘severe unapologetic jazz.’ This is undeniably true. Their blend of gritty jazz, obscure math rock time signatures and a helpful dose of electro-synth makes for quite the experience seeing them live. They’ve just about covered every genre going, except perhaps K-pop, but I wouldn’t even bet against them releasing an experimental album dabbling in such sorcery.
Support came from Skeltr, a duo from Manchester who looked like a tribute to Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools And Horses. Sam Healy on sax was wearing a shell suit jacket, a baseball cap and a gold chain, whilst drummer Craig Hanson wore a knitted beanie. I had no idea what was in store; were they going to perform some Goldie Lookin’ Chain songs? Or totally blow me away with their thrilling sound? These guys totally killed it; their smooth jazz and synth-fuelled tunes were horrendously infectious. Between varying time signatures and some of the beefiest sax solos I’ve ever heard, Skeltr were phenomenal.
Knower’s entrance was like a comedy sketch. Drummer, Louis Cole was wearing a white parka with sunglasses, equipped for a day at the slopes. Lead singer, Genevieve Artadi was wearing pink sunglasses, a baseball cap and odd shoes. Their tight-knit unit hurled straight into ‘Hanging On’, which featured a mad drum breakdown from Louis, whilst Genevieve’s Björk-meets-Ninja-from-The-Go!-Team vocals were haunting and thrilling.
‘Time Traveller’ was a space odyssey epic. Jacob Mann’s synth solos were stratospherically interstellar, the crowd jumping around and really feeding off the energy of the band. This was then followed by a jokey tune called ‘The Milk Dance’, with Louis introducing the tune stating, “as you know, there are three types of milk”. It’s a brief filler, but hopefully one day this will be released as a bootleg.
Tunes such as ‘Butts Tits Money’ got the crowd chanting like hooligans while ‘Paying The Price’ had everyone silenced by Genevieve’s smooth vocal lines. The highlight of the night was the ridiculous ‘Chinese Funk’ which “probably isn’t Chinese funk but it goes like this.” Knower are the epitome of unpredictability. After an initial drum battery, there was then another manic drum solo, with Louis further announcing, “instead of doing a third drum solo, we’re gonna do this instead.” With that we all sang happy birthday to synth man, Jacob Mann. The mood was jovial. No sooner had we done that, but the band picked up the song where they left off, this time with even more energy.
Would it be a Knower show unless Louis did some rapping? They dived straight into ‘The Government Knows,’ a rap-battle-style tune, which featured some slick and quite frankly insane keyboard licks from Dennis Hamm. The song then transitioned into ‘Overtime’, arguably the bands most recognisable tune. With several tempo changes and a grandiose big band ending, Knower left a spellbinding impression.
Louis then began to hand out cupcakes to the crowd, in celebration of Jacob’s birthday, with him announcing, “I wish, next time I come to Bristol, to try some fish and chips.” Knower are in a league of their own and there are very few bands that can emulate the same talent, musicianship and consistent comedy improv on stage.