Kung Fu Crimewave | Family Band

prof KFCW_75“The shit we talk about has dark overtones.”


prof KFCW_500

I sat down with the members of Kung Fu Crimewave at the Sidewalk Café on Avenue A, after seeing some CMJ shows at Pianos a few blocks away. This was the first Deli Magazine CMJ showcase at the Sidewalk Café, although musicians and locals claim that this place has arguably held some solid New York artists in its time.

The members of Kung Fu Crimewave—lead guitarist and vocalist Luke Kelly, bass and backup vocals Joanna Kelly, drummer Neil Kelly, keyboard Preston Spurlock, and trumpet player Matt Colbourn—had just finished up their set at Sidewalk and joined me for an interview while waiting for their late-night dinner.

Luke described how they started out, looking around for the wings and fries that he ordered while telling me their beginnings. “We started out as a different lineup: me, Joanna, and our friends. Over time, it evolved to become a family band and we brought our brother Neil in, and Preston to fill out the sound.”

Kung Fu Crimewave is the definition of a family band, but a cool one, at that. Luke with his disheveled and tousled blonde hair and British schoolboy attire; Joanna—the only girl in the group—calm and relaxed in blue jeans; Preston in a black t-shirt and looking a tad morose; and Matt, slender and involved in other conversations. The people at Sidewalk know the band, occasionally interrupting the interview to say hello and have a bit of a conversation. All of the band members come off as being extremely close and supportive of each other no matter what. Joanna went on to say how a friend of theirs helped record their album in the Kelly basement, in exchange for a place to stay.

The band describes their sound as post-apocalyptic rock ’n’ roll. Joanna explained further: “The shit we talk about has dark overtones.” But, Preston adds, “it’s happy music delivering bad news.”

This is the first time the band has played CMJ; after coming in at 11 in a Deli Magazine poll of best emerging artists, the magazine asked them to take part in its showcase. They have played shows in bars and loft spaces in New York City, and recently did some shows in Dublin, Ireland. In the spring of next year, they are headed to Europe for a tour.

They’ve got a friend producing an upcoming album they are presently working on. Luke is pretty set on an album title, one met with a scoff from Preston and a smile from Joanna. Yet, much like the workings of this group, everything with Kung Fu Crimewave appears to be organic, progressive, and full of with fan and familial support. | Kristyn Potter

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