April 11th, 2012 | Live reviews

Fresh off the announcement that The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach will produce the garage/soul rocker’s sophomore album, Hanni El Khatib started a month long tour at The Satellite. The ring-leader of “knife fight music” has been touring relentlessly, promoting Will The Guns Come Out, and is quickly becoming indie rock’s newest hardcore darling.

The much-deserved hype for the self-proclaimed skate rat from San Francisco comes on the tail end of a whirlwind road to increasing fame. His name became all the buzz before his first record was even released less than a year ago. The reason for the buzz: his music is tight. It’s tight in all senses of the word. His songs are direct, straightforward, to the point. His first record runs a quick 35 minutes. And his live performances are, without hyperbole, downright bananas.

The kick-off show to the Highway Man Tour was no different. The singer added a keyboard to what had been a simple singer-drummer duo, and the effect gave HEK a rounder feel to his typically stark and raw air. Not that the addition of a third member to the outfit made the show any less real. HEK and crew shell out seriously sweaty, low cuts with grimy, alley cat authority.

HEK gave us 12 of the dirtiest, whiskey-laden songs we’ve seen in a minute. He’s steadily growing more and more polished (vocally, especially) but his passion and force continue to be ruthless. Highlights were the Funkadelic cover, “I Got A Thing,” and the super Sabbath sound-alike, “F*ck It. You Win.”

Angel Baker