Friday, May 22, 2015

This Little Underground: 20 Watt Tombstone and Johnny Knuckles & the Handsome Bastards (Will's Pub)

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 1:09 PM

click to enlarge 20 Watt Tombstone at Will's Pub - ASHLEY BELANGER
  • Ashley Belanger
  • 20 Watt Tombstone at Will's Pub


The Midwest has a storied tradition of two-piece bands, birthing a couple of this generation’s most defining ones. Although not quite the White Stripes or the Black Keys, Wisconsin’s 20 Watt Tombstone (May 19, Will’s Pub) is a fairly gruesome twosome that takes a burly, blues-greased outlaw slant on the two-piece ideal. They sometimes lean on a little too much on rural cliché, but luckily they pack a lot of gut and grit.

click to enlarge 20 Watt Tombstone at Will's Pub - ASHLEY BELANGER
  • Ashley Belanger
  • 20 Watt Tombstone at Will's Pub

The real beef is their slide-guitar action. That’s some legitimately meaty business there and something very much worth building on. Speaking of guitars, they uncorked some Rust Belt badassness with a guitar fashioned from a catalytic converter for their finale.

click to enlarge Johnny Knuckles & the Handsome Bastards at Will's Pub - ASHLEY BELANGER
  • Ashley Belanger
  • Johnny Knuckles & the Handsome Bastards at Will's Pub

Opening was Johnny Knuckles and the Handsome Bastards. Typically, the country-punker performs solo, but this expanded combo was him winged by the Holcomb Brothers. The result is actually a nice gestalt, his punk roughness and their gentlemanly finesse blending in very complementary ways. In fact, with the way each force brings key virtues that the other lacks, they should consider more combined work, perhaps adding the Holcombs’ material to their repertoire or even writing new joint songs. 

click to enlarge Johnny Knuckles & the Handsome Bastards at Will's Pub - ASHLEY BELANGER
  • Ashley Belanger
  • Johnny Knuckles & the Handsome Bastards at Will's Pub

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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

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Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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