Review: Steve Kilbey at the Knitting Factory in New York City, 2-23-01
By Jerry Jascomb
"Arrive in a Hive City, somewhere in the East"....was cold and dark negotiating my way to Manhattan from Atlanta to find the Knitting Factory and a strange hotel with protruding dragon's horns, lit like oriental lanterns, the Gershwin - adorned with Andy Warhol prints in the lobby. Snow and trash were on the sidewalks in seemingly equal measure, opposite ends of some purity continuum of the late winter season.
Cell phones and subway (traded with Kelly and Mark)got me to the venue to warm up in the lobby. SK strolled in with a guitar case slung over his black peacoat, looking like a remnant folk-troubadour from the heyday of Greenwich Village in the 60's. I said, "Steve, good to see you,", and he reached back to shake my hand, searching for some sign of recognition, but finding none. In followed Mark, Kelly, John S., Kate, and several other well-known names from the Seance list, and it was gratifying to finally meet everyone.
The room was quite small, and jammed full during the set, which was very similar to Acoustic and Intimate, with Steve asking for requests, and later saying "the request portion of the show is over" to laughter. At one point, sensing the past Village vibe, he said "I'd like to do a Bob Dylan song," and proceeded in his best nasal whine, "how many times...." Someone has mentioned the "Tristeese" reference, and his intro to "Limbo" with a comment of being "about a fat bastard", but when he finished he added with sarcasm, "I'll bet he feels badly sitting by his swimming pool in Arizona.....ah, well". J.D. joined midway for some nice electric guitar fills, and a kind introduction from Steve. One new tune was offered, which he began with "(name I didn't catch) says this is a silly song", which was about an Aquanaut.
After the set, Steve came out for some conversation. He ducked into the side room to retrieve a photo of the new twin girls (very cute) now 16 months old, and commented with a bemused look that his older girls (10) "like Britney Spears." When Mark mentioned that I was from Atlanta, he said "I like Atlanta....the south will rise again", and we chatted for a minute about an in-station radio gig the Church did years ago at 88.5, Ga. State U's station (I guess he could have played "Civil War Lament", one of my Jack Frost favorites). He also said the new album would be out in July. I was so exhausted from a full day, and a more than full work-week that I'm sure I didn't get much of a chance to talk with everyone who was there - but I did tag along with Krista, Chrispy and others to one of the all-night diners for which NYC is famous, for some split-pea soup at 4:00 A.M. A short cab-ride back to the Dragon Hotel and I was lying in a spare bed listening to the surreal rythmic click and hiss of a steam radiator punctuating the remains of the night.
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