The backing track for the Knifefight: No Rules trailer, posted below, is Murdertronics’ “Get ‘Em High.” In this context, the Get ’em hiiiiiiiiiggggggggh/Get ’em drrrrrrrrrrruuuuuunnnnnk chorus–uttered more times than I can possibly justify counting, in a manner not unlike Yellow’s belly-aching dinosaur-burp “Oh Yeah”–isn’t an aspiration, but a manifesto. You see, Knifefight: No Rules is a short about a crazy-ass show that went on in a Greenpoint warehouse this past February. Put on by the eponymous Knifefight–the party-throwing moniker of Andy Smith, ex-Chief Magazine engine who also ran the dearly departed, DIY space Bodega–the two-night affair at 171 Lombardy starred the usual crust-crunk suspects: Ninjasonik, Japanther, Cerebral Ballsy, the Death Set, Boogie Boarder, Murdertronics. Project Fathom filmed the whole thing and whittled it down to 12 minutes.
And as a micro-documentary, Knifefight: No Rules is intended to encapsulate a uniquely Brooklyn moment, one that dreadlocked hip-hop slinger Mr. Starcity bravely describes on camera as being as special as “the early ’80s, when rap first started” when everything was about “your crew, the love, getting wasted, getting drunk, partying.” So here we have Japanther sweating and screaming into telephones. Bushwick types making out in dark corners. An off-stage conversation with the punk kids in Cerebral Ballsy, who explain that they’re a skate crew who accidentally became a band. A Murdertronics dude gushing about all these “cats” around who’re “stupid fucking ridiculously talented.” The three members of Death Set sitting around a table, looking, rather characteristically, out of their gourds.
Creative debauchery aside, Knifefight: No Rules works as a testament of another determined set of people taking matters into their own hands. The real narrative isn’t onscreen, it’s off: Todd P. isn’t the only guy in town who knows how to fuck shit up outside of nightlife bureaucracies, and having “a Viper Room of our own” is all well-and-good if you can afford the drinks, but there’s still something honest about 100s of sweaty skate/graf kids throwing down somewhere “all the way out by the garbage dumps,” as DJ Stacher puts it, at an event not footed by Vice. You could argue there’s something of questionably legal variety to document Friday and Saturday —the Shank, McKibben Lofts, Rubulad, Hoodstock–but that’s not an argument, it’s a challenge. And a decent reason you still live here, you know?
Knifefight: No Rules screens tonight at the Knitting Factory with live antics by the Death Set, Anton Glamb, Hussle Club, and Broken Teeth. Info here.