Gritty melodic West Palm Beach trio the KillBillies create an incredible blend of folk jams with a punk attitude. It's as if Mumford and Sons and the Clash-lite had a baby. And then say that baby was drinking at an Irish pub enjoying a jaunty country tune. Well, that baby would be the KillBillies. Their name may be reminiscent of a gruesome horror flick telling the tale of redneck killers, but their music has a much more wholesome appeal. With their unique sound and explosive live shows, the trio will hopefully gather a slew of new fans as they head northward next week for a late-summer East Coast tour.
The rowdiness and raw talent that emanates from each band member will undoubtedly turn a few northern heads. Lead singer, guitarist, and sax man Ben Childs spearheads the live shows with his energetic vocals, along with Micah Scott, who swings the steel guitar, banjo, and even mandolin. Their sound is rounded out by Luke Pennell, who dominates the stand-up bass, turning the instrument into a stage prop and making it all look so easy. Notably missing from the trio is a drummer, but don't spill your Guinness over it. Childs and Scott have it covered, keeping extra busy on stage by using their feet to create the percussion with kick drums.
The guys hit the road on August 1 on a completely self-booked tour and
didn't leave much room for getting lost or checking out tourist crap.
Show days are booked back to back and sometimes states apart. While
being cramped in a van for two weeks may sound like a nightmare to
most, the KillBillies claim this type of pressure-cooker situation gets
the creative juices flowing. The trio will set up some recording
equipment in the tour van so they can lay down their latest inspired tracks at a moment's notice.
South Florida will miss the jaunty tunes of the KillBillies, but to ease
any separation anxiety, the band set it up so that we can cyber-stalk its every move. The crew plans to keep fans updated via its Facebook page throughout the grueling odyssey and is even working on a documentary of the journey.
Considering the excitement and talent fueling this tour, it's shocking
to think that it almost didn't happen. Mere months ago, Pennell suffered from a hernia that had punctured his intestine, and on
June 4, the KillBillies sent out a message to the internet gods asking
for any donations to help Luke receive the surgery he so desperately
needed to survive. In less than 27 hours, fans from around the world gathered around the band and raised the necessary funds to put Pennell
back onstage. He was truly humbled by the experience, stating, "I owe
my life to a bunch of good people -- many I've never met -- from all over
the world. It goes to prove that even when you lose faith in a system
meant to help and heal the sick and wounded, people will come together
and take care of their own."
The KillBillies have a big heart and plenty of talent to back it up.
Keep a close watch on this band, and follow along as it moves beyond
South Florida and sweeps the rest of the nation.
The KillBillies still have a few local gigs before the tour starts in August:
7/26: O'Shea's Irish Pub in West Palm from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
7/27: Paddy Mac's in Palm Beach Gardens from 9 p.m. to midnight
7/28: Carson's Tavern in Stuart from 9 p.m. to midnight
The KillBillies 2012 East Coast Tour Dates
8/1: Worm Hole, Savannah, GA
8/3: Hank's Saloon, Brooklyn, NY
8/4-5: BayHouse Restaurant, Breezy Point, NY
8/6: LIC Bar, Queens, NY
8/7: Trash Bar, NY
8/8: Radio Bean, Burlington, VT
8/9: Charlies 0's, Montpelier, VT
8/10: Big G's with with Stem in Whitehall, PA
8/11: Valentines and the Luck Juke Box Brigade, Albany, NY
8/12: Rondoutmusic Lounge with Everymen, Kingston, NY
8/13: Oasis with Everymen, New Paltz, NY
8/15: Snug Harbor- Charlotte, NC
8/16: RootBar, Asheville, NC
8/17: Sloppy Taco Palace Orlando, FL
For more info on the gigs and venues visit killbillies.info.