In 2006, Jacob Hansen and Patrick Bowden of Denver’s The Knew became a two-piece after guitarist Tyler Breuer left to teach overseas. They were vulnerable in a live setting and were limited musically. The only thing they could do was quit or adopt an underdog mentality, to play as though each song was their only shot. The duo did more than survive.
When Breuer returned from teaching in Costa Rica, his bandmates had experienced a minor epiphany. “We gained the confidence to experiment,” Hansen explains. “We realized there’s no reason to hold back ever—no matter how many people are in the band or what song we want to write.”
The creative explosion was still grounded in the Southern rock the band started with, but was now joined with a new sense of reckless abandon. “An earful of ideas just kept spilling out,” Hansen says. “When Tyler was away, it got our anxiety back. The same sense of anxiousness you have before you’re even in a band but you want to start one. We hit the ground running and started playing a ton of shows.”
The last phase in The Knew’s addition and subtraction game came when it picked up Tim Rynders on bass. “Now we’re starting to get to play the types of songs we’ve wanted to play since we were kids,” Hansen says. “People get worried about repetitive music using the classic two guitars, a bass and drums format, but there are a billion songs out there still to be written. It’s something that can never be stopped.”
The band uses its freshly minted self confidence for altruistic purposes. The Knew wants the crowd to embrace its energy and bask in the glow of its low-tech revelry. “We write the songs we'd love to hear,” Hansen says. “But we want people to get into it as much as we do. It’s the kind of thing where there’s no choreography, but I might end up on the ground just because of what the song makes me do. We don’t play like our lives depend on it, but maybe like the night depends on it.”
After hearing several Denver bands sing the praises of Burt’s Tiki Lounge, The Knew wants to see what all the fuss is about. The band is equally pleased about the Albuquerque acts they’ve been paired up with on Saturday, Jan. 19.
“You can only tell so much from a band’s MySpace page, but Q’s Revenge and The Old Main seem like great bands,” Hansen says. “I think they’ll match what we do really well and I’m excited to get out there and check it out.”