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Local rockers Thunderlip and Monkeyknifefight (MKF) unite forces, aiming to melt downtown Wilmington with their fast, loud, and live music. This is the seventh straight year that these friends, bound by immaturity, will play together. Their combination of punk-rock and old-school metal will bring forth watered-down morals and a sure-fire good time.

“I’m expecting [a] pretty wild night,” Charlie Smith, of MKF, sanctions. “What’s great is that with our music being a little different, it makes for a good mix.”

While sin, booze, and rock embody both MKF and Thunderlip, they still have two separate core fan bases, but with the help of a little alcohol, respective fans will get along well.

The name Monkeyknifefight was inspired by an episode of “The Simpsons.” While Urban Dictionary defines it as a deadly fight between two primates who have purchased knives, Wilmington knows them as four punk rockers who started their destruction circa 2001. The idea for the band began as a mere two piece set with Smith (drums) and Josh Pearson (guitar). Both musicians jammed together, recorded tunes on a four-track, and played some homegrown parties.

“It never really amounted to anything,” Smith says. But six years later, the duo decided to start again. This time around, Pearson swapped to bass, and Jaybee Bratz (lead guitar/vocals) provided some attitude. MKF worked well as a trio. Smith and Bratz took turns with the writing and singing. To bring more inspiration to the group, David Ware (rhythm guitarist) was added later. Ware helped write the newest material for MKF. Eventually, Pearson had to quit playing, and the guys brought in Mitch Jones (bass) to permanently solidify their lineup. MKF has stayed this way for five years now, but they still remain brash. They couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of them. Smith cements the band’s motto.

“We are a punk-rock band—period,” he notes.
“We have no interest in saving the world, being a part of a scene, or being sensitive to your feelings. We are, however, interested in punk-rock, beer, guns, bad television, world catastrophes, girls, drugs, girls on drugs, and breakfast.”

“The first album sounds angrier, although there really was no anger involved,” Krueger details. “‘No Time For Love’ and ‘Laser Hawk’ display screaming and fist-pumping vocals, while ‘Bad Day on the High Seas’ and ‘Damnation’ speed things up with intense licks and solos.”

Their sophomore album followed two years later. On “The Prophecy” (2007), Krueger wanted to identify his voice. The track, “Loose,” is a textbook example of the band’s evolution—though it still displays their roots. The symphony of recklessness exhibits warranting guitar licks that prove the band can still get down and dirty. Krueger’s exceptional chorus, “Any which way but loose,” is evocative of Nugent and Foghat, serving as an instrumental time-machine.

“The music, in my opinion, took on a bit of a bluesy theme. I think that came from having our old guitarist, John Manning, in the band,” Krueger says.

Thunderlip doesn’t typically play consecutive shows in the same town. However, in an effort to fund and showcase their new album, they make the exception. They’ll be playing different sets from all three albums at each show. Their show at Reggie’s on April 26th is sponsored by Volcom, which means free giveaways.

Krueger finds himself deep in the new material now. Thunderlip wants to play shows that captivate long-time fans, while still providing something new.

“I see fresh faces every time, and the same beer-slingers that I’ve seen since day one,” Krueger says. It blows him away when he catches someone in the crowd who knows the lyrics even better than he does. “I think I weird them out even more by giving them the mic and becoming the backup singer for them, though,” he laughs.

Monkeyknifefight and Thunderlip represent a movement of music bound to draw blood and get the cops called. But they do it for the thrills. Two acts that love to break down the third wall between the artist and crowd—hell, they’d even shotgun a beer with you while onstage—they don’t want to play music to inspire but instead to conspire. Bringing together the misfits, kids whose parents always told them to “turn that noise down,” and even adults who want to go out, get drunk, and pass out with no regrets.



Monkeyknifefight and Thunderlip

The Whiskey
1 South Front St.
Sat., March 29th, 9 p.m.
Tickets: $5 (21 and up)
(910) 763-3088

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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