#11-Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble

Performed August 13, 2013 at FOKL, in Kansas City, Kansas

Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble, 8/13/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble, 8/13/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

This particular review may be masturbatory, but I’m probably the biggest fan Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble (SK&THE) has. They even dedicated the second song of their set to meWhat’s more, SK&THE don’t have another show scheduled going into the foreseeable future, because the Stiff Knight himself, Perry Kroll, is snowbirding in Arizona for the winter. So, while this review may be self-indulgent, it’s also a means of adding longevity to a group with an uncertain future.

There are many reasons to like a band, some of the more popular examples include; how loud they are, the genre of music they play, their technical ability, and production value. I’m drawn towards SK&THE for the spectacle. On any given night Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble could include anything from four to six members, depending on who has a ride, can get off work, or just wants to step on stage (such as this performance). This night’s set included four core members plus a guest from the audience.

Perry takes the lead swapping chords and lead notes between his chaos pad. Bassist Nicholas Bell remained motionless and stoic while performing the entire set in a bright blue bunny hat. Catherine Grimes, lead female vocalist, played ukelele (without amplification), slide whistle, and french horn. Catherine also doubles as the chief costume designer. She’s undoubtedly behind the giant pants her and Perry temporarily shared during performances (they put them on during track three, Warddrobe Change Interlude and wear them for the next composition), the face mask shaped like a lamb’s head, and the large, Terry Gilliam-esque cardboard semblance of F.D.R. who mouths along to their songs. Drummer Tommy Capps is seemingly the most square of the bunch, but frankly they need someone to keep the whole show on the rails. During the set guest player Summer Power can be heard playing an out-of-step snare. Combine their stage antics with their weirdo lyrics and you have yourself a contender for most entertaining show in town. I don’t like SK&THE to be blown away by craftsmanship, virtuosity, or overwhelming coolness; I like them because I always have a good time.

The various members of The Hard Ensemble may continue on in some capacity. Before the formation of SK&THE Nicholas headed his own project, Wire and String. Nicholas’ frequent collaboration with his girlfriend Catherine Grimes and Perry is what eventually led to the formation of SK&THE in the first place. Whether Wire & String reforms or another entity manifests entirely is yet to be determined. However, Perry won’t be in Arizona forever, so chances are Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble will return.


Listen to Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble’s set now with the embed below (31:29)

Listen to Stiff Knight & the Hard Enemble’s set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire link below


Set list for Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble

1. Bad Word

2. Two Kinds Of Cheese (4:07)

3. Wardrobe Change Interlude (6:48)

4. Chained For Life Hong Kong Flu (7:30)

5. Beth The Psychic (10:37)

6. I Know (13:30)

7. Goth Wop (15:55)

8. Gamer (19:35)

9. Sugar Skulls (21:59)

10. Twilight Zone (25:19)

11. Giants In The Desert (28:40)

For more Stiff Knight & The Hard Ensemble click the links below



This recording was made with the permission of Stiff Knight The Hard Ensemble, so if you like it send some love their way. With any luck they’ll receive it and come back to play again. If you enjoy the blog then leave a comment, share it with your friends, and subscribe.

  1. dr

    PK is the coolest human alive.

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