Sunday, March 13, 2011

Storytelling In the Form of Music.

Kaki King
The Biltmore Cabaret
March 12th, 2011
Opener: Megan Washington

Megan Washington is an Australian musician who sat centre stage in the dimly lit room of The Biltmore in a blinding spotlight with a piano and microphone. She played pop tunes about "failed relationships" and the like. Her accent from The Land Down Under could be heard in her raspy vocals which reminded me of Cat Power -- with more punch. Washington definitely captivated the audience with her passionate piano playing and witty lyrics. Her humour was evident in her short and quirky banter with the audience, charming us with stories about wiki-ing cities she will play in and remarking on funny facts that are great ice-breakers in any conversation.
Her ease on stage was felt in her enticing story about her "bad vibe-rater" -- note: this sounded painfully similar to "vibrator" which I'm sure everyone in the audience including Kaki herself thought she was talking about. This unraveled into a hilarious story about her bar outings and mistaking a drunk guys obvious sexual advances for a common friendship-- Hence her bad "vibe-rater" of other people's vibes. (The end of this encounter ended up with her singing lullabies until he fell asleep -- how sweet, yet ironically hilarious).
This is the song that was inspired by that incident.

She'll be playing SXSW dates next -- catch them if you can, you are sure to do some feet shuffling and body moving.

Kaki King came on stage after 9pm and announced to the waiting audience that there is a problem and we can all fix it together. ----
I wonder if it was a sound issue, tech problem, drunk and rowdy behaviour? ---
No, it's because she'll have to sit for her performance and this will result in only the first lucky few to be able to see her. She urged all of us on hard wood floors to sit down, nice and comfortable beside our fellow music listeners. Shoulder to shoulder we sat with our legs cramps -- the perfectly unobstructed view of Kaki on stage with her one of eight guitars though -- made it all worth-the-while.

She opened the set with Bone Chaos In The Castle one of my favourite songs off of her 2008 release "Dreaming of Revenge". It was a short and energetic preview of what we will all be witness to that night -- Talent. After this was Doing the Wrong Thing -- one of the songs which attracted me to her percussive and melodic guitar-playing style. Her set-list included Magazine, Playing With Pink Noise, Life Being What It Is to and a cover of Fences My Girl The Horse just to name a few. A pleasant surprise was her performance of the twitter requested Neanderthal from her 2004 release "Legs to Make Us Longer" (I want to thank you the one who requested this brilliantly played song).

She was encircled by eight incredibly impressive looking guitars played in multiple tunings -- which she switched periodically between songs from acoustic to lap-steel to a terrifying-looking double-necked guitar. The sounds produced was articulate, melodic, crisp and resonant with just enough edge to keep you wanting more.
Photo: From here

Between songs her hilarious banter drew the audience in. She blatantly drew attention to Washington's "vibe-rater" story and had the audience chuckling along. Really though... who actually says that, "vibe-rater". One of my favourite anecdotes of hers was a story about having her heart broken -- the non-conventional way. That is to have a cute girl who had been making eyes at her come up and "angelically" say that she and her girlfriend "totally get in on to [her] songs." --- Her friends try to console her claiming that this is in many ways, a threesome --- just think about -- after some pondering out-loud, her song and them = not really the type of threesome to brag about, if at all. Yeah -- It's not that romantic. But makes for a great story to tell when surrounded by friends with empty bottles and time on your hands. Hilarious.
I would also like to add that she played the show while fighting off a cold -- really great to see that she didn't let it effect her performance.

This was undoubtedly one of my top shows of this year. It's refreshing to see a show where the talent is not clouded by light effects, glow-sticks and general rowdiness. Authenticity at its finest.
One of the things I've always loved about her music is that you can for yourself decide what each song can mean. That it is so open to interpretation is something that makes it desirable to listen to-- for me at least. Others may call this instrumental style boring, or unexciting -- I think it's incredibly inventive. To each their own, I suppose.

If you can, be sure to catch her on tour -- you won't regret the experience.

Kaki King - Bone Chaos In The Castle (Live)

Kaki King - Neanderthal (live)

This youtube account has several Kaki King shows... go nuts.

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