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The Knux w/ The Symetrics @ Viper Room, 6/18

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“Its late, it’s a Monday night, you all got to be up early tomorrow for work and you’re here with us.” These were the words shouted over the mic last night at the Viper Room by Krispy, one-half of The Knux.

The truth is Krispy, who performs alongside his younger brother Al, was saying exactly what I was thinking when I initially read the invite for last night’s festivities.

A late Monday night on the Strip checking out a new act I’ve never heard of didn’t sound all too enticing, however, after listening to a few tracks on their MySpace pageI thought this just might be worth it.

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Fortunately, it was.

I was pleased to see first-hand The Knux breathing life into hip hop, which may not be dead as Nas insists but it is definitely in the ICU. The brothers from New Orleans are a throwback, and not just because they rock gold ropes, Adidas track jackets and afros. Not once during their set did you hear a reference to hustling, luxury items that none of us can afford or slapping bitches - just lighthearted wordplay reminiscent of Jurassic 5, Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest mixed with beats that range from retro funk to UK garage to blues to soul.

Best of all, and possibly most refreshing, The Knux play instruments. Well, not last night but on their recorded music they play their own stuff. For live shows, however, the duo teams up with the Symetrics, a funk/jazz instrumental trio.

Aside from playing Knux tunes, the Symetrics also warmed up the crowd with their own collection of head nodding grooves. While the pornstache clad trio tore it up, the charismatic Krispy and Al were working the room, greeting old friends and making new ones.

Once they hit the stage, the duo, who recently signed with Interscope, turned that same charisma up a couple hundred notches. They owned the room.

Krispy grabbed the mic directed individual audience members to move closer to the stage, "You with the white hat, make sure all the people buying drinks at the bar gets their asses up here," and "Why isn't that guy clapping right now?"

He would eventually clap, as did everyone else in the Viper Room which was about as diverse a crowd the Sunset Strip has probably ever seen. A testament to the band's crossover potential, as the Complex magazine article scanned on their MySpace page said, "The duo may be following Kanye West's gap-bridging footsteps." Everyone from record execs to blondes in trucker hats to industry insiders to hipsters trying their best to not look cool to hip hop heads in hoodies to a rowdy bunch from Dublin, Ireland were here to watch The Knux knock it out (which they certainly did). Maybe the latter were there to drink beer and get wasted but they were fans by the time the night was over. The Irishmen were chanting "one more song" as the set was coming to a close.

The Knux responded and gave them and everyone else one last song, "Amazing" a slow flow about a girl falling for the wrong guy so catchy I woke up singing it. Give some credit to the fact that the song is catchy and some to the fact that I didn't get a whole lot of sleep.

Its like Krispy said, it was a Monday night and I had to get up early for work.

No complaints here though, the hours of shut eye lost were worth the chance to have my eyes open to something new and fresh from a genre of music that has been putting me to sleep.

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Photo via The Knux MySpace page