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King's X / Klone http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/22/6e/1c/1432_kingsxlivesplash_1310413597.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 11, 2011    
 
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King's X / Klone - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton (UK) - 10th of April 2011.

Faced with the choice of seeing a mega-rare King's X gig at Manchester's Academy 3 or stick to the original plan of a weekend away at a five star retreat in Herefordshire, we found a happy compromise and stopped off at the Wulfrun Hall on the way home to hopefully re-live the fantastic King's X show there from a couple of years ago. First though, French band Klone must have an ironic name because I can't say I've ever seen a band quite like them. They fall into the more avant garde area of Prog occupied by bands like Riverside, Opeth and Porcupine Tree, but also have indie, grunge, metal, pop and post-rock tendencies at times, with singer Yann Ligner sounding like everybody from Devin Townsend to Eddie Vedder. Songs like 'Rite Of Passage', 'Empire Of Shame' and 'The Spell Is Cast' run the gamut from full on metal riffs to haunting atmospherics and hypnotic rhythms, with drummer Florent Marcadet delivering a masterclass in power and finesse. The most interesting thing about this six piece is Matthieu Metzger, whose electronic expertise creates amazing moods and sounds, and he also plays some kind of synthesized saxophone with a mouthpiece that isn't connected to the bit with the keys on. Although they bemused the crowd at first, each song was greeted with greater applause until closing song 'Give Up The Rest' got quite an ovation. Definitely a band to watch out for.

If I had to list the best gigs I've ever seen I'm sure King's X would be in there at least a couple of times. This time around they followed a very similar pattern to the previous tour, mixing old and new songs pretty evenly, and I'm sure there are few bands (Rush excepted) whose fans will give more recent material the same respect as the classics. Like Rush, King's X have kept the same three piece line-up since the seventies and they have a chemistry that's still apparent as they open with the self-explanatory (and maybe even autobiographical?) 'Groove Machine'. With smiles all round, a King's X set is a celebration of a friendship and the music they've made, and a bond with the audience means that they're almost drowned out on the chorus of 'What Is This?' Bassist dUg Pinnick, guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill look at each other like that's never happened before, and with a crystal clear sound they go on to deliver 'Complain', 'Black Flag' and 'Alright' before going all the way back to the first album for a powerful 'In The New Age' as the first chant of "Je-rreee" causes the drummer to do a mock double take.

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An unexpected 'Pillow' and the excellent 'Pray' precede the heavier 'Dogman', and the recent 'Go Tell Somebody' seems to have become a classic since it was first aired two years ago, however, the reaction is eclipsed by the mayhem that greets 'Summerland', whilst the whole band get to show off on an extended 'We Were Born To Be Loved', complete with an extra couple of false endings. The musicianship was stellar as usual with Pinnick seemingly picking up more strings on his bass with every tour, Gaskill hammering his kit into submission and Tabor supplying just the right guitar fills for the songs, with an occasional emotive solo. Of course none of this would work if all three of them couldn't sing like angels, Pinnick's soulful delivery backed up by amazing harmonies and the occasional lead vocal from Tabor.

It's encore time, and whilst the crowd singing the whole of 'Goldilox' is truly awesome to hear, I've heard it before and wish the band would just sing it themselves. Things come to a close with the riotous 'Over My Head' and the hypnotic 'Visions', and whilst in my mind it didn't quite match their last show here, it was still better than most mere mortals could manage.

Phil Ashcroft

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