It’s probably safe to assume at this point that no other band working today can offer what Kneebody delivered at the Blue Whale on Friday night.
Embarking on the second of a four-night residency, the group -- forged more than 10 years ago with a popular residency at Santa Monica’s Temple Bar -- can’t really be considered a local band anymore, given that some of its members have relocated to the East Coast. But with a long-held habit of merging jazz with groove-heavy elements of rock and electronic music, Kneebody remains far from forgotten on the local scene, particularly as its members have gone on to shine in other projects.
Still, the night was more about what the group accomplished as a unit, which was made only more intriguing by the addition of Santa Monica-born DJ-producer Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus. Stationed at the far right of the stage, the band’s extra member further underscored the group’s ability to traverse boundaries while setting aside a more direct songwriting journey for those who carried a more elastic sense of ebb and flow.
With Daedelus opening one song with an alarm-like tone that continued to swell and recede, bassist Kaveh Rastegar locked into a groove with a dense, throbbing tone, opening the door for trumpeter Shane Endsley to explore compressed melodic arcs. As the song grew stranger and more aggressive, drummer Nate Wood anchored its pulse with jagged, odd-angled rhythms that sounded like a drum machine choking on its own power supply.