Saturday, January 31, at the Hurricane.

Skeleton Key 

Saturday, January 31, at the Hurricane.

Who gives a fuck about a goddamned Grammy? I'd bet the members of Skeleton Key might know the answer. After all, their 1997 debut, Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon, was nominated in the Best Recording Package category. The fact that a group of art-funkateers from the Lower East Side even got that close to a Grammy with an album recorded by Barkmarket abrasion maestro D. Sardy is wonderfully subversive. Unfortunately, Skeleton Key slumped hard after its brush with fame. After rousing audiences on tours opening for everyone from the Melvins and Helmet to Morphine and Primus, the band disappeared. Skeleton Key resurfaced in 2002 with Obtanium on Mike Patton's Ipecac label. If Primus tried to score an avant-noir film and Les Claypool had the guts to let Larry Lalonde have the spotlight once in a while, Primus might sound like Skeleton Key, a band that strikes a tightrope-worthy balance between ominous and quirky, albeit with a smoothness that sets it apart from the psycho-freakout stuff you'd expect from Ipecac. Though the bang and clang provided by the Key's scrap-heap percussionist is certainly one of its distinguishing features, it's the elastic interplay between the percussion and drums that truly gives this band its grace. The first time I heard Skeleton Key, I mistook the band for Curtis Mayfield. It might take awhile, but when vocalist Erik Sanko hits his falsetto over that trademark pots-and-pans groove, you just might see the connection.

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