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Headbangers

King's X Live in Nashville

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Wednesday, October 13, 2004 @ 0:31 AM


King's X Live at the Exit Inn

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REVIEW BY: Michael Fischer, The Nashville City TOON

Can you guess the famous American philosopher who once said, "Give me a dollar or give me 50 cents, let me take it back if that ain't what I meant"? Boom boom crash bang slam! And who says Metal Church ain't on Monday!?!

It's late 3 am and a killer crisp autumn night in Music City. I'm driving down I-40 West in Nashville with King’s X blasting on the CD deck. Like in most US southern cities, the only existence on the road were a few trucks and an occasional crackhead drunk on their way to Waffle House (or the crackhouse). The one thing that made this drive special was Jerry Gaskill is riding shot gun in my Mustang 5.0 strapped in like an F-16 fighter jet. Funny thing was I had Faith, Hope and Love playing and he jokingly says, "These guys are great, who is this?" "Have you seen my phone?" Doug, laughing, said, “Yeah that sounds like Jerry.”

Having a late night laugh with one of my favorite rock drummers was a perfect end to an awesome night for me. Back in the day I just saw the band. Now I get to hang out with them. Long story short, Jer forgot his cell phone battery at the hotel and in the fine art of friendship I raced him back to the hotel to grab his charger. I also had the opportunity to hear a cassette tape he brought with him of Jerry, Doug and legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy back in the early 1970s. The tape Jerry had was from a live festival in PA before Ty joined the band. Sound was rough, but you could tell the playing was out of this world. Free form jamming material much like early Journey or Jimi Hendrix, adding Phil's vocals and solos sounded just way ahead of it's time.

Phil lives here in Nashville and stopped by the show to say hello to the boys and to drop off some of his new DVDs and bring Jerry and Doug that homemade cassette. Phil Keaggy is a major influence on Ty and the band as a person and a musician. They talked about him all night as we watched Phil's DVD on the bus. Unbelievable if you¹ve never seen this guy. He’s played with Paul McCartney! http://www.philkeaggy.com/

I was still floored from King’s X experience just 2 hours previous. By 4am, I was filled past the brim with music. Good thing it wasn’t over my head, eh!

The entire King’s X show was truly superb as always right down to the opening act. Great set list. Doug, Jerry and Ty were just on fire and sounded better than always. These guys are at the pinnacle of their career performance-wise. Much like Rush, ELP and Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, it's funny how three guys can make so much music, and make it all look so easy.

The opening act was a local favorite from Louisville Kentucky called Big Jim Slade http://www.bigjimslade.com/. Big Jim Slade was made famous in the 1980s spoof, Kentucky Fried Movie. Suitable name for such a kick ass 4-piece band. These guys are a great blend of King’s X meets Soundgarden. Great songs! Excellent vocals! I heard they were opening and skipped a Jack Daniels steak dinner at South Street to make the show early. They wielded some tunes off their new upcoming CD release. I’d recommend checking those guys out. If this band stays the course, Big Jim Slade will be hosting Headbangers Ball along with King’s X one day very soon.

Now bring out the beef!

King’s X began right on time. We were treated to a very special Spinal Tap opening of Doug's bass being tuned out of whack and Ty's Polar Bear church joke to cover. (Ritchie Blackmore would have hid behind his amps but Ty stood strong ). These guys are so pro and humble. Great time to check Ty’s mic anyways. Doug has a new tech and he forgot when you tune the bass lefthanded the same as right it's a little out of tune. To kill the dead air, I had to yell out "Freebird" to get a laugh. Of course Ty would touché me by playing the slide riff on his microphone stand to the roar of the crowd. It was a comedic start to a remarkable show of new and old material to feed your hungry metal heart.

King’s X opened with an excellent version of “Groove Machine.” Second, they cut into their signature tune “Believe.” Doug really sets the tone of the set with his vocals on this one. What a crowd connector. He really let's you have it, which is pretty scary. That song say’s, “I’m Doug Pinnick, bitch!”

Third, King’s played a Faith Hope and Love classic, “I Can’t Help It,” which sounded great. I haven't heard that one in awhile live. Fourth, they break into “Dogman,” which heavies things back up a bit and gets the heads and beer bottles bobbing again. That song displays all the power, grace and grit of King’s X. That song pretty much sums it all up in my book of life.

Returning to Faith, Hope, and Love once again. Fifth tune of the set, Ty and Jerry are featured on a sweet vocal version of “Mr. Wilson,” calming the crowd connection back down again. These guys can take you on a ride anywhere you want to go, musically. Nebraska even? It's all about the words, feel and tone.

For the next few songs, they spin some of their new tunes they are working on with famed metal producer Michael Wagener (Malice, Krokus, Skid Row) here in Nashville. The new material sounds really meaty. They are back into the low tuning with some killer grooves and vocals as only King’s X can do. They play three new songs called “Cupid,” “Freedom” and a slow tune called “Julia,” which could have easily made the Beatles White Album.

Master Jay really has the sound dialed in by now. For the ninth song of the set, they pick the room back up and drop it right on your head with a kick ass version of “If.” I love that song! They then cut into some more new material. I wanted to hear some older stuff too, but the new stuff is really good and I know they are having fun performing it so I’ll be honored to listen. Shows are never about you. They are about the one of a kind feeling and great sound and visual experience only King’s X can deliver.

Tenth tune of the set was a new tune called “Screamer.” This tune has a strong jungle beat to it with Ty doing some Egyptian minor tones. Pretty kewl tune. Song has a great chorus. They follow that with “Open My Eyes,” “Finished,” “Charlie Sheen” off one of their previous records, and another new tune called “Hurricane,” (cleverly inspired by Mother Nature and CNN) and “Down.” Great stuff, lotsa vocals and all the good things a King’s X song brings to the table.

For the 16th hole, par 3, King’s X deliver some heavy hits. Make sure you hit the bathroom around “Charlie Sheen.” They brought the roof down with “Sometimes” off Ear Candy. That has got to be one of the heaviest groove riffs I've ever heard. They jam the chorus until you virtually come apart at the seams. There's just nothing else in that moment. They could have played that riff for 15 minutes and I wouldn't have cared ‘cause it sounded so fucking good. Ah the true essence of King’s X! Complexity through the eyes of simplicity.

Drop your cocks and grab your socks ‘cause they smoke a killer version of “Visions” (one of my favorite King’s X tunes). And to follow up all that emotion, headbanging and singing they cut into their classic “We Were Born To Be Loved.” You can play that one at my funeral. If the Paul Shaffer band plays it on the David Letterman show, ya know it's a killer song.

The band returns to the Exit In stage for a sweet 3-song encore to the crowd chanting, “King’s X!” For the first encore tune, King’s X returned to the Gretchen Goes to Nebraska album (my fave) and performed “Mission.” "What's the vision of the preacher man!?!" What a killer song. I could have watched them play that whole record at that moment.

For the second encore tune played, one of the best versions of “Summerland” I've heard them play live. It was acoustic last year, so it's as great to hear the solo and the electric version this year. They tweaked the song a little dynamically and vocally so it sounded really awesome. I just love Ty's solo playing. He really keeps you on the melodic edge milking that note. Ty has new Randall cabs this year. He finally retired the old Mesa Boogies with the Blues Brothers holes.

Last but not least, the King’s X groove machine leaves you with their calling card tune, “Over My Head.” A nice toned-down version dynamically again with the crowd vocal in the middle. “Over My Head” is always a nice connection with the fans and the band as it was their first recognized hit on Headbangers Ball. I would imagine if the crowd really rocks, they’d play one more. KING?

After the show, the band still wet and tired, jumped off stage and came down to the merchandise table to do a quick meet and greet. So be sure to bring your camera or pick up a cap or a new live CD t-shirt and have the band sign and personalize it for you. Most everybody's evening ended there. Mine had just began as I got to hang out with the band and watch the Phil Keggy DVD on the bus while they shared Jay’s mom’s homemade twinkies and drank their wine. As Uriah Heep would say, “Me and my magic man kinda feeling fine!”

King’s X will be finishing up work on their new CD in December and preparing for the new CD release summer tour in April 2005. Also King’s X fans will be excited to know that the new long-awaited King’s X double-live CD will be hitting the store shelves before Santa crashes into your local Walmart. Do your musical community a favor and go see the Fall 2004 King’s X show! It's a good one! Amongst a sea of over ten billion musical morons, King’s X will always be one of my favorite top 10 bands.

What a great bunch of guys. It was just a dream to be able to meet them one day. How incredible to be able to hang out them. The fine art of friendship! Going to see King’s X is equal to church for me. Don’t miss mass!

King’s X is: Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor, and Jerry Gaskill. Be sure to see them in LA at the Key Club in Hollywood Sunday October 24th or check them out on the web for additional Fall 2004 Tour Dates at http://www.Kingsxonline.com/.



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