The blues isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you're talking about music that has come out of Philadelphia -- the city is famous for its jazz, doo wop, soul, and hip-hop, but one tends to associate the blues with the Midwest and the South rather than a northeastern location like Philly. However, there is no law stating that a blues or blues-rock outfit cannot be based on the East Coast, and blues-rockers K-Floor (originally Killing Floor) have been a hot live attraction in the Philadelphia area since the late '90s. Besides, K-Floor was actually formed in Kansas City before moving east to Philly in 1997. This live CD was recorded at two of the band's East Coast gigs -- one at the North Star Bar in Philly, the other at the Bubba Mack Shack in Somers Point, NJ. Rats Live on No Evil Star isn't for blues purists or blues snobs -- the performances are blues-rock (with elements of jazz and funk incorporated), and not everything on the album has 12 bars. Nonetheless, everything that K-Floor plays has the feeling of the blues; that is true whether it is playing original material or putting its spin on Muddy Waters' "Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had." Those who are fans of Johnny Winter, Pat Travers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or George Thorogood should have no problem getting into this album, but the artist that K-Floor inspires comparisons to more than anyone is Robben Ford. That's because K-Floor, like Ford, is a blues-rocker with a healthy appreciation of jazz -- these Philadelphia residents improvise a lot, and they don't hesitate to bring some of the jazz language to their blues-rock foundation. This CD falls short of stunning, but it's a generally enjoyable, if derivative, effort and indicates that K-Floor has a lot of potential.
Review by Alex Henderson
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