A more evolved — and angrier — Kanerko

Major signs of life
By CHRIS CONTI  |  November 2, 2010

FOCUSED Diaz in full howl

Kanerko — the band name should ring bells, not only because the moniker draws inspiration from veteran White Sox first baseman (and Providence native) Paul Konerko, but their '08 full-length disc Showtime ($5 at kanerko.com), a hefty platter of meat-and-potatoes hard rock that captured the energy put forth in their acclaimed live shows dating back to 2004. Less than one year later, however, vocalist Al Diaz, bassist Kevin Marz, guitarist Anthony Palumbo. and incredibly skilled drummer Nick Iddon (more on him in a sec) quietly closed up shop due to age-old circumstances.

"The four of us got burnt out, period," big bassman Kevin Marz told me earlier this week. "We had to take time to recharge the batteries.

"We take a lot of pride in what we do musically, and if we're not into it 100 percent then that isn't fair to the people who pay to see us and buy our records," he said.

"We absolutely have that focus again," Marz continued. "Expect a more evolved, angrier Kanerko this time around."

I've caught a few Kanerko sets since their springtime return and, after witnessing Kanerko's recent headlining gig at Firehouse 13, I would supplant "angrier" with "hungrier." The 18 months off have paid major dividends. Following a bizarre intro with charismatic frontman Diaz addressing the room while clutching a My Little Pony doll, the band tore through a 45-minute set that included new cuts as well as plenty of heavy hitters from Showtime. Marz, Diaz, and Palumbo were grinning throughout, while Iddon (all 92 pounds of him) smashed on his kit with such precision it was scarily impressive. Palumbo's monster riffs on Showtime standouts "Choke," "Game of Addiction," "Confessions" filled the room, while the Columbian-born Diaz pounded the bongos on "Choke" and climbed the Marshall stacks on "Es Mi Culpa" while dishing props to his crew throughout. "The greatest fucking band in the world right here, lades and gentlemen — Kanerko!" Diaz proclaimed as he briefly exited the stage and while his mates unleashed a savage jam session. Diaz returned, smile everpresent, and announced, "Okay, here's another new one, this is called 'Ayatoll-house Cookies.' "

Kanerko's sound lands somewhere between major influences Alice In Chains and Corrosion of Conformity, and Marz also acknowledged "old-school Incubus" ("back before Brandon started taking his shirt off all the time"), which can be heard on Showtime's closing track "Spectrum."

The Kanerko resurrection is in full swing, as the band just shot a video for Showtime single "Five Across the Face" with NYC director Jonathan Leyton ("We shot on the rooftop of Monster Mini-Golf overlooking Route 95," Marz said, "we had an absolute blast"), Iddon picked up a sponsorship deal with Silverfox Percussion, and the band hired regional booking agency Revitalize the Scene, which has lined up shows from Hartford to Worcester to New Bedford.

"We had no direction in terms of the business aspect of music," Marz said. "The music business is a strange and currently-evolving entity, and that's why we started working with Nate [Franklin] from Revitalize. He has been a tremendous help thus far." As far as sniffing out record deals, Marz would only elaborate off the record: "Let's just say we're actively pursuing some things."

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