They Like Us!: Bands Dig Coming Through Knoxville

They Like Us!

There are a lot of things that go into a band choosing which towns to stop in and which to avoid, but one of them is simply where they have a good time. On that scale, a handful of shows this past week suggested Knoxville is making a good impression. Shortly before the monstrous metal triple-bill of Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer detonated the Civic Coliseum on Sept. 30, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian could be found singing the town's praises on Twitter: "Unlike the urban blight of most downtowns across the U.S., downtown Knoxville you are an oasis," he wrote. And he added, "Eat at Tomato Head." Then, this past Monday night brought a double-dose of love in two different venues. The Books, playing to a packed Square Room, enthused about how happy they were to be back. (They were most recently here for the Big Ears festival in March.) The crowd responded with wild applause for the band's melodic found-sound experimentalism. And over at Pilot Light, indie-dance favorites Starf--ker and The Octopus Project found themselves with a similarly amped-up audience, and were plenty appreciative. "It's been just over a year since we were last here, and we're really happy to be back, " said Octopus-guy Josh Lambert. "I know that sounds corny, like we say that to every town. But it's not, you guys are great." Aw, shucks.