The Knocks @ Toad’s Place, New Haven

While New Haven might not be a “hometown show” quite like New York City, it still felt pretty close for the Knocks. As B-Roc mentioned on stage, J-Pratt actually went to high school in New Haven so plenty of former classmates were there along with B-Roc and J-Pratt’s families. The added pressure of family and friends did not seem to factor into the duo’s performance.

Considering the Knocks only have one full length album, they managed to pull from the full seven years that they have been releasing original music. For the old school fans, they played their first two singles “Make It Better” and “Dancing With DJ.” They played 2013’s non-album single, “Modern Hearts” but as expected the meat of the set was from 55. “Kiss The Sky,” “I Wish (My Taylor Swift),” “Tied to You,” and “Classic” all made the set list along with “Trouble” from this year’s Testify EP.

What was remarkable about the set was the energy the Knocks bring. J-Pratt switched between lead singer, bass player, synth player, and drummer. B-Roc mostly concentrated on drums and synths. With a great light show to accompany them, the Knocks surely did their family and friends proud.

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Opening for the Knocks were Chicago duo, Gilligan Moss. Mostly aptly described as IDM, the group mixed esoteric drum sounds with minimalist synths and samples. With Gilligan Moss originally being the launch pad for Evan Dorfman’s music, he still does most of the heavy lifting live. His childhood friend and now bandmate, Ben Cronin helps with some synth work but also acts as the focal point of the live show. He danced about the stage, slowly and rhythmically. He mouthed along the sampled lyrics while using his fist to keep the beat on his chest. He even did all the talking for the duo. Despite being up first and having a fairly sparse crowd, Gilligan Moss were captivating to those who were there.

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The other opener was Bipolar Sunshine. The Manchester vocalist has an overwhelming positive message that seemed to really connect with members of the crowd. With songs like “Are You Happy,” “Love More Worry Less,” and “Whole Heart,” it was a bit of a love fest from Bipolar Sunshine. An unfortunate cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” felt like the major misstep of the setting, really draining the energy.

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