by Ross Bernhardt
Last Friday night at the Knitting Factory, I had the pleasure of taking in a triple bill that entertained from start. Beginning with Lily & the Parlour Tricks, continuing with Mercies, and finishing with The Hollows, all three groups entertained in a decidedly different way. But the common denominator for all three groups was how the crowd responded to each act.
I haven’t seen that much dancing at a show in years. The Knitting Factory is a pretty decent-sized venue, but the frenzied atmosphere on the dance floor gave it the feel of an old, small gymnasium or church hall where a sock hop was taking place. The dancing wasn’t just resigned to the fast-paced tunes: the slow jams had people swaying and yelling out the words right along with the groups, clamoring for more and more. Good music has that kind of power, and there was no shortage of it last Friday.
Brooklyn band The Hollows put on a rip-roaring good show. There’s no clear comparison to make or genre to associate with these guys because they sound wholly unique. Their approach seems to change from song to song with everyone in the group getting a chance to shine. There’s no lead vocalist, only the guy singing the current song (not to mention the tremendous harmonizing done behind whoever is taking the lead). Banjos an mandolins and keyboards populate the stage as the band fluctuates between Americana, folk, rock, bluegrass and classic southern rock sounds.
One minute they can sound like the Punch Brothers, the next minute they give off a strong Marshall Tucker Band vibe, like in the song below:
Throughout the set, the members moved around and switched instruments, had a few choreographed moves during some jam sessions, and really got the crowd into it, especially with their rousing finale “Whiskey and Wine,” which played great with the crowd. It’s easy for music like this to sound kind of stale, or generic, but because they keep every song so fresh (and are having such a good time doing it), nothing falls flat. These guys are crowd pleasers, and their live shows are definitely must-sees.