Runner & the Thermodynamics

SXSW Live Shots

SXSW Live Shots
Photo By Gary Miller

Runner & the Thermodynamics

Caucus Patio, Thursday, March 18 Marc Pinansky plays a Gibson SG through a Marshall stack – and he's very pretty. Mike Oor is given to an impressive bass solo or four, and he, too, is very pretty. So what does this Boston rock trio have that separates them from all the others? Roger fucking-A Knight. Never in the history of rock has anyone flailed on the kit more than Knight. Not Moon, not Bonham, not anyone. The man is an enigma. Decked out in his trademark newsboy hat, Knight stood up for half of the set, hitting the skins harder than Bobby hits Whitney. For the remainder, he sat mashing the bass tom or the kick drum, turning around only to bare his teeth to the modest crowd. He lost sticks as fast as he made contact with the heads, often smacking the drums with an open fist. This is the definition of ADHD. Pinansky and Oor aren't too shabby, either. Oor's first bass solo, in the middle of "Powerlines," stood in for a lead guitar. Whoever said there was no money to be made past the first five frets of a bass hadn't seen Runner. Pinansky's bluesy vocals, denouncing ex-girlfriends and praising pot and whiskey, laid over Knight's rhythms in perfect synchronicity. "So Sorry" highlighted the set with its sarcastic fury. New number "My Woman" brought in the dirty funk while Oor slapped the bass. Tom Petty's "I Need to Know" was the perfect closer. A little anger, a little desperation, and a whole lotta rock. Runner is an amalgamation of decades, from Mountain of the late Sixties to the Strokes of today. This is how rock & roll is supposed to be played: not too crispy, not too clean, but more fun than Mick Jagger ever had – probably.

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