November 19th, 2021 11pm Stage 2
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It’s difficult to ascertain exactly when it happened, but what is now referred to as Skunkmello initially coalesced from primal street-slop into a potent brew of high-octane rock and roll in the typical manner: via a prolonged slog of sordid circumstances, brutal affairs, and high-proof late-night frenzies in the acrid warehouses that line the East River. Now, several soggy years down the road, the particular details are no longer important. It’s vibrantly clear that after more than four years of late nights, lost shoes, and last calls, Skunkmello has become one of New York City’s hardest hitting and rowdy rock and roll bands – not from concentrate, and not for the faint of heart.
The band blends the raw urgency of Creedence Clearwater Revival with the singer-songwriter storytelling of counter-folk troubadour Towns Van Zandt and the sticky swagger of the Rolling Stones, celebrating the traditions of rock and roll with brazen irreverence. A Skunkmello live show is pure run and gun rocket-fire from the hip – a whiskey-addled sonic evolution of blues and folk heritage, deep on improvisation and flow. The studio catalogue is more eclectic in its influences but refined in its taste and decor, revealing a covert literary awareness while simultaneously reflecting a focus on craft and musicianship, achieved quite impressively despite the crazed depravity of the scene from which it emerges.
Itinerant drifters and zig-zag wanderers by nature, there is a certain vagrant appeal to the band’s sound that is especially apparent when they take the circus on the road. Careening on the edge of certain doom is when the Skunkmello sound truly rumbles to life in all its dynamic complexity, and it’s often through sheer determination and white-knuckled grit that they’re able to scoot that double yellow line and avoid those ambulances night after night. From the burning sun in Barstow to the cold in Somerville, the band are routine outlaws at music festivals such as SXSW, CMJ, and Musikfest while gracing countless and far-flung stages, barrooms, farmhouses, street-corners, garages, rooftops, back-alleys and basements with their villainous virtuosity along the way. Look for them out on the road burning across the interstates of asphalt Americana, peddling their tonic of rowdy rockers in surf stereo, blazed in big city lights.