One of the few American-grown musical genres, the blues has been turned
inside out and upside down by musicians whose abilities run the gamut from
virtuosity to beautiful amateurism.
The annual Waterfront Blues Festival tends to lean towards the former skill set with lots of wanky solos and often-inauthentic expressions of grief and pain. And if you've ever been to a blues jam session, you've likely heard wannabe Stevie Ray Vaughans muddling their way through a 12-bar Chicago blues standard.
There's some truth to the idea that two of the three acts playing this Thursday at The Know ride some sort of middle ground between those two extremes, but their sounds are much more interesting.
Headliners Hungry Ghost have an approach that is more akin to fellow indie musician Jon Spencer. Guitarist Andrew Price cut his teeth in more experimental circles as a member of the Irving Klaw Trio, a group—much like Spencer's first band, Pussy Galore—that dropped experimental clanging into the midst of their jazz-inspired rock workouts. But since joining forces with former Unwound drummer Sara Lund and starting Hungry Ghost in 2008, Price has reduced his attack to its leanest essentials with rumbling rhythm and slide guitar lines that shimmy and seethe alongside raw-boned percussion work.
Opener Ghostwriter (known to his family as Steve Schecter) offers an even more stripped-down take on the blues, imbuing it with a punk edge that is as welcome as it is can be chilling to experience live. Schecter's performances are all one-man affairs that find him raging out fuzzy chords and throat-shredding vocals as he stomps out rhythms with his feet.
8 p.m., Thursday November 10th, The Know, 2026 NE Alberta St.