Here’s how a rumor spreads: my friend in Seattle, Washington told her friend in Dallas, Texas about a “rap-rock” band; the Texas friend sent an email to a buddy in Chicago, Illinois, who promptly mentioned the band’s “underground rockability” to an acquaintance; the acquaintance then told his doctor; the doctor described the band to another doctor who happened to be friends with my cousin; and my cousin repeated it all to me. Now here’s the rumor, or at least the eighth or ninth generation of it: the Pharcyde meets Joan Jett at a house party in Seattle, wherein a bad case of laryngitis leaves Jett with killer guitars but no vocals while a bus accident has left the Pharcyde with no equipment but plenty of voices. In the tradition of “peanut butter + chocolate = perfection”, the bands join forces to give the houseguests a most enjoyable night of music.
Being a “rumor”, my information was definitely suspect. Turns out, it wasn’t a house party; it was the music festival South by Southwest (SXSW). The band that rocked the party wasn’t a composite of Joan Jett and the Pharcyde; that was just a description of the Saturday Knights, a band made up of Tilson, Barfly, B-Web, and DJ Suspence (also credited in reviews as “DJ Spence”). And the rumor-inspiring performance didn’t take place in Seattle; rather, that’s the group’s home base. When you listen to their eponymous EP, you’ll find the rumors to be accurate on one point: the Saturday Knights are definitely talented. They’ve been compared to everyone from Hendrix to Public Enemy (although, for the record, both comparisons are exaggerations), but their major asset is their penchant for making fun, danceable music. While not as memorable as Run DMC’s forays into rock-injected hip-hop, and probably not as “hardcore” or “edgy” as Rage Against the Machine, it’s the grooves, the hooks, and the humor that work best.
Based on the energy in their recordings, their live show is sure to be a joy. From the studio, however, I’m not convinced I’ll remember these songs in ten years, or even five, but I’m content with how well they sit on the ear for the immediate future.