Some of the best parts of Governors Ball are the late-night after-parties. They are often dirt-cheap and feature some of the best acts to play the festival each year and the reason why we headed to Saint Vitus to see an electric bill with Acid Dad and Black Pistol Fire. Shortly after midnight, local rockers Acid Dad, gave us a powerful set of psychedelic/punk-rock that was a nice little warm up to what was to come.
The Black Keys, Royal Blood, The White Stripes, Death From Above 1979; what if I told you that Black Pistol Fire is better than all of those two-man bands? If you haven’t stopped reading this in disbelief or anger, then let me explain. Let’s start with Kevin McKeown who shreds the guitar like he’s a 65 year old blues player straight out of Chicago. Then he sings with such emotion that you’d think he had found his way to the bottom of the well, then climbed back out and was possessed by some well-dwelling demon. Then you add in Eric Owen and his ridiculous ability to create beats and fills on the kit – he’s a hybrid drummer who hits hard, all while dropping insane rolls and splashes which are impeccably timed. We could drop comparisons about his drumming style, but he’s too good to pigeonhole. Together, they’re a real force to be reckoned with and are confident they’ll someday be mentioned with the bands above.
While we’ve tried to explain why Black Pistol Fire is such an impressive band musically, there’s really only one way that you get it, and that is in the live setting. Their energy is not only infectious, but unparalleled by any other 2 person band that we’ve seen. Miraculously, the jumping, spinning, and or flying into the crowd doesn’t affect the timing or music and only enhances the experience. None of this is a forced action mind you, the music takes over and the next thing you know Kevin is buried in the crowd, Eric is jumping up and down while pounding on two floor toms with hair flying everywhere and you’re wearing a maniacal grin from it all.
They would play until just after 2am and gave us a set including “Hipster Shakes” and a sizzling Nirvana cover of “Aneurysm,” that they’ve never attempted before, but was absolute fire. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world catches up with this band; their style, while firmly rooted in the blues, is electrifying, rocking, and in your face. The smart bookers for Gov Ball, knew this and invited them back for a second year in a row, and BPF once again blew everyone away in the early afternoon.
Article: Shayne Hanley
Photos: Omar Kasrawi with additional pics from Shayne Hanley *(sh)