on deck: the knocks at u street music hall, 1.12.12

4 Jan

U Street Music Hall is a venue created by DJs, for DJs. Their sound system, responsible for my perpetual Friday morning ear-ringing, draws higher quality electro artists to the District than ever before (at the expense of my premature deafness) to its two stages.

However, while back-to-back DJs will hammer out sets on sets without a single glitch from the back booth, artists at the front stage seem to frequently encounter technical difficulties. Sometimes these difficulties aren’t terribly intrusive and only reveal themselves through too-frequent murmurs of “Can we get more on mic two, please?” from the lead singer. Sadly, sometimes the more drastic cases can prevent an otherwise rocking show from fully taking flight.

This was the case the first time I saw the Knocks at UHall for an All Things Gold artist showcase this past summer. I had barely listened to the duo before they came to DC, but I when they stepped on stage I was immediately drawn into their funked-out, soulful remixes that can appeal to hardcore electro ragers and indie kids alike—until their laptop cut out. Over and over again. At first I thought it was all part of the act, until it happened so frequently that I came dangerously close to losing my groove.

Nonetheless, these Manhattan-based guys made such an impression on me that I become a Knocks enthusiast after the show, and they have remained my treadmill favorite for the past four months. (Trust me, nothing will make a mile zip by faster than the 7-minute blissed-out dance party that is “Dancing with the DJ”).

So, I was ecstatic that these guys will return to DC next Thursday for another iteration of All Things Gold, along with perennial UHall DJ favorite Brenton Duvall and a Boston-based duo called Magic Man. At $10 per ticket, the event is always a steal. If you have any appreciation for remixes of Motown favorites like “Aint Too Proud to Beg” with just enough uhn-tiss to keep your body moving (and not too much to lose the soul), you’ll dig the Knocks’ sound, as well as their even more impressive original tunes. Check out the tracks below.

Good: “Keep Me Hanging On,” The Knocks Remix. From The Same Old Songs, a compilation of the Knocks’ Motown remixes.

Better: “Make it Better.” One of the Knock’s oldest tracks, and still one of my favorites. The whistled melody against the high-pitched vocals are a charming match made in heaven, and the pairing pinpoints what I love the Knocks’ sound.


Best: “Brightside,” a new single from the Knocks’ new EP, Magic, released after they signed with A&M/Octone Records. Signs of things to come? Oh yeah.



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