There are not many bands who would admit that their first gig was almost their last.

But ironically it was the making of garage blues duo Knuckle, who have since cemented themselves as one of the area’s best up and coming groups.

And meeting on Halloween while in drag just over one year ago, it is fair to say members Jonny Firth and Ben Wallbanks are used to getting the best out of the most unusual situations.

Ben, who plays drums, said: “We met when I was performing in a band called Steve Albino and the Love Socks in the Parish on Halloween.

“I was in drag and had a bag over my head.

“We instantly realised that we both had the same musical loves and it just went from there. We had four practices and got a gig at the Hop in Wakefield.

“We thought we’d got it right but for some reason the crowd didn’t get it – we were looking at each other thinking, ‘have we got this really wrong?’

“But luckily we got another chance a few weeks later at Bar 1:22 and it was great.”

Just one year later, they have got over 60 gigs under their belts, while both juggling jobs.

They are not just well known to everyone in the local music scene but in London and further afield, thanks to their addictive blend of filthy and distorted guitar riffs, explosive drums and moving, raw singing.

It would also be fair to say that their penchant for having passionate snogs on stage along with some comedy outbursts has also given them a considerable amount of attention.

It has taken no time at all for their sound to even travel across the water to France, where they toured earlier this year.

Ben said: “We’ve been told we sound like the Black Keys on crack.

“That was a great thing to hear but it’s just how our sound came out through a mutual love of blues.

“The French tour was awesome – we played several dates, the maddest of which was in Marseille and everyone knew our lyrics.

“I think it’s easier in France to make inroads into the live music scene because everyone in England everyone is in a band.”

Getting the gigs, said Ben, was a lot easier than one might imagine.

“We believe in a punk DIY ethos – if you don’t ask you don’t get, but do and you can be surprised where it will take you.”


Although fans of maintaining a constantly full gigging calendar, they celebrated the release of their debut EP, This Week’s Been Hell, in September, which recently reached Leeds Jumbo Records’ top releases.

This is on top of recording several laugh out loud music videos, with the help of local director, Marco Zaffino.

It’s all no mean feat for the duo, who have definitely not found having only two members a barrier to success.

Ben said: “We’ve got more space to be creative as a two piece.

“As a drummer it gives me a chance to fill in roles that would be taken on by the bassist in other bands.

“And having a really similar outlook and sense of humour is great for trying out new ideas, especially ones with a comic side to them.”

As next year beckons, Ben revealed the duo have many a band projects in the works.

“We’d love to do another EP when possible and are looking forward to getting more gigs.

“We’re going to try for some festival slots, as well as making a few more crazy videos along the way.

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