11 May 2010: The Fox Theatre Boulder, CO
In support of her fifth studio album, Junior, Kaki King continued her US tour Tuesday night at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. She was joined by supporting act An Horse, an Australian indie rock duo that seems to have no point. With only drums, guitar and vocals, An Horse does not give themselves the chance to do much with the talent they have. And though they are talented, what they are producing here is more of the same sound that this movement continues to stir up like an Amish butter churner: a heavy drum beat, distorted guitar and vocal lines that stick to the basics. They naturally fit into the ever-expanding category of “you can’t really categorize them” because in actuality the genre they fall into is that of the $1 CD Bin.
But then there is Kaki King, who has now turned a corner for indie rock from her previous perch alone on stage. All you have to do is watch her play guitar and you are instantly hooked, but throw in the other two members of her band, multi-instrumentalist Dan Brantigan and drummer Jordan Perlson, and you’ve really got something. Able to combine her unique and utterly remarkable guitar prowess with an ear for what is progressive about the indie movement – synthesized noise, curious instrumentation, and a 20-something angst that only this generation seems to be familiar with - it is no wonder King has been able to take her place in the genre without spoiling it like so many others.
From Tuesday’s opening tune “Falling Day”, on which King plays a lightly distorted Ovation ukulele, Brantigan and Perlson brought the volume up together – Perlson with his driving drum beats and Brantigan providing sound effects using keyboards, computer, analog EVI and trumpet. As King tapped on her guitar as she is so well known for on “Bone Chaos”, exclamatory whispers of awe could be heard throughout the crowd – nobody wanting to disrupt her, but nobody equally able to hold back on commenting. The seven song first “set” ended with Brantigan and Perlson leaving the stage so that King could entertain the crowd on her own both with stories of her history in Boulder and with her guitar. When she was again joined on stage, the trio jumped right back into it, and a raucous version of “Doing the Wrong Thing” left King and company bouncing around and the audience totally captivated, as they were the entire night.
Perhaps slowed by the unseasonable foot of snow falling outside, the majority of the crowd sat around the edges or stood still on the floor, but there were a few dancers close to the front who could not stop moving the entire time. This was much to the delight of King who, after completing the looping of her guitar parts during the encore “Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers”, jumped into the crowd and danced along as Brantigan and Perlson laid into it on stage. To conclude the song, an appreciative, tired and wild-eyed King jumped back to her guitar and microphone to scream a loud thank you to those who made the snowy trek, and the crowd shuffled out with a quiet gratitude.