Albany’s all-star garage-rockin’ trio the Knyghts of Fuzz roared into Valentine’s Music Hall last Friday in all of their striped-shirt glory. It was a happy hour show, and they were happy indeed, celebrating something new and something old, too.
The “new” was a sizzling slab of red (and red-hot) 7-inch, 45 RPM vinyl on Carlton Records, marking the band’s debut recording. It’s actually a split single that features a pair of KoF tunes – “U.G.L.Y.” and “Let It Go” – as well as a new track by fellow Nippertown garage enthusiasts the Mysteios (“Bustin’ Up Everything”).
“We’re celebrating our new 7-inch vinyl single,” declared guitarist-vocalist Ian Jackson Carlton. “Here’s a song that’s not on it.” With that, the band – which also features drummer Brian Goodman and bassist Big Frank Novko – launched into a jittery, hot-wired rendition of the classic “I’m Not Talkin’.”
Seemingly fueled by some potent mix of cheap beer and kerosene, the Knyghts fuzzed out for a couple of hours, blitzing through such genuine nuggets as “The Devil’s Weed,” “Party Lights,” a boiling, over-heated romp through Elvis’ “Burnin’ Love,” a trash ‘n’ crash version of the Invictas’ nugget “The Hump” and even a massive deconstruction of the Jeffereson Airplane’s “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds.”
To be honest, I can’t remember if they ever got around to playing either of the songs on their new disc, but, of course, it didn’t really matter… It was a rompin’ good time.
As for the “old” portion of the show, well, the Knyghts somehow managed to coax Jim Furlong – owner of Last Vestige Music Shop and former frontman with such legendary Nippertown bands of yore as the A.D.’s and the Trash Knights – out of retirement and back into the spotlight. Banging away on his tambourine, Furlong grabbed the microphone and squeezed every ounce of energy into it as he led the band through Bo Diddley’s “Diddy Wah Diddy,” the Rascals’ “Come On Up,” the Stones’ “The Last Time” and a soulful slow-grind through Irma Thomas’ “I Wish Someone Would Care.” Yeah, Furlong sounded as strong as ever.
“I’ve loved this song since I was a kid. It’s from one of my vocal heroes,” Furlong declared, as he eased the band into the most unexpected selection of the evening, a finger-snapping, surprisingly straight-forward take on Dean Martin’s strollin’ 1965 hit, “Houston.”
And wrapping up his portion of the show, Furlong took the band out of the garage and into the jazz lounge with surprisingly successful results. There was more finger-snapping, and the band navigated a bit of serious swing. There were puzzled looks all over the faces in the crowd, but they turned to mile-wide smiles as Furlong leaned into the microphone and seductively crooned, “I’m a cement cat…” Yes, it was the A.D.’s classic single “Living Downtown” done up as perhaps ole Dino himself would have done it. They played the whole song that way before, as you knew would happen, Goodman kicked the Albany anthem into rave-up overdrive, and they blitzed the whole song again at the original punk-rockin’ tempo.
Photographs by Ed Conway