I first saw King’s X with my friend Al back in 1992 or so. I don’t recall much about the concert. But I knew that they were awesome live, even still, some twenty years later.
I’ve enjoyed nearly everything they’ve released (their last album was in 2008), and when I heard that they were playing three concerts in the area, I decided it was time to see them again. I almost went to the show in Newtown, NJ on May 2, but we went to a Figaro play instead. So, I was psyched that they were playing reasonably close by in Sayreville, too.
The Newtown show was a seated event. The Starland Ballroom is not. It is a small venue with large “wings” where you can see the band from all kinds of angles (including the side of the stage). I got there a little later than I intended. The co-headliners were TT Quick, a band I knew in high school (who are also from NJ), but who I’d forgotten about. When I saw they reunited for this show, listened to the one album I had by them (Metal of Honor) and was surprised by how well I remembered it. But a few snags in my trip to Sayreville (like the impossibly long time it too me to get ear plugs at Shop Rite), got me there with only three songs left in TT Quick’s set.
They were LOUD (so glad I bought the ear plugs), and singer * (who is now singing with Accept) was in good form. Although when they closed with the song “Metal of Honor” there was no way he was hitting those high notes.
TT Quick is pretty different from King’s X, so I’m not entirely sure how much overlap there was in fans. But when TT Quick left I got up to about 4 people from the stage (could have easily gotten closer, but I’m not a pusher). The most shocking thing to me was the man who had his 4 year old son there with him (I offered the guy ear plugs, but he said he had them already). The kid was a trooper (considering King’s X went on at nearly 11PM. He lasted a few songs on his dad’s shoulders (right in front of me, grrr), but then crashed about midway through the set. (which gave me a great view).
But enough about that. What about the band? They were awesome!
First off, the real test Doug (dUg) Pinnick’s voice sounds fantastic. He hasn’t lost a thing–his screams are loud, his low is low and he is impeccably in tune. And his bass was great. I never noticed how long his fingers are. I think he had his 12 string bass to start with but most of the set was played on a four string.
Next Ty Tabor’s guitar. Wow, the guy is amazing. He used only one guitar the whole night and he manhandled that thing. making great sounds out of it and playing extended solos like a jam band. I stood just a few feet from him and it was awesome to see his playing and to see the weird chords that he played (I always knew he played weird chords, so it was great to see them).
Finally, Jerry Gaskill’s drums. The man is a monster! Wow, not only does he pound the hel out oft he drums, his rhythms are so complex and intricate (and all from a teeny tiny drumset). Gaskill suffered a heart attack a few years ago and was in a medically induced coma, and yet here he is playing like a maniac. He received many many cheers from the audience.
They still harmonize beautifully–al three of them (Jerry’s mic could have been a little louder), and it was amazing to see the interplay between them–the way dUg hangs back while Ty takes over, the way the seem to move out of the way when Jerry is doing his thing. And the way dUg engages the audience. It was very cool
The audience was full on for King’s X–singing along and knowing when all of the twists and turns were coming. Even the really drunk guy who was actually screaming louder than thw music (and did a great dUg impression) was intensely into it. So much so that he was terribly distracting when he started singing choruses super loud while the bad was jamming. I saw Doug and Ty smirk at one point and wondered if it was because of him.
Their set list also spanned their career (or most of it)
- Groove Machine [Tape Head]
- Pillow [Dogman]
- The World Around Me [King’s X]
- (Thinking and Wondering) What I’m Gonna Do [Ear Candy]
- Vegetable [Manic Moonlight]
- Flies and Blue Skies [Dogman]
- Everybody Knows a Little Bit of Something [Gretchen Goes to Nebraska]
- A Box [Ear Candy]
- Over My Head [Gretchen Goes to Nebraska]
- Over and Over [Tape Head
- Pleiades [Gretchen Goes to Nebraska]
- We Were Born to Be Loved [Faith Hope Love]
- Go Tell Somebody [XV]
- Dogman [Dogman]
I saw the set list at the end of the show. They had put “Goldilox” as a 15th song but didn’t play it. Bummer!
But no sadness, because the set was great. I couldn’t get over how great “Pleiades” was (the one song that Ty does lead vocals on) and they were so incredibly tight in the end section of “We Were Born to Be Loved” which is full of off-beat chords that it blew my mind]. As I mentioned, a lot of the songs had lengthy solos, and it was great watching Ty wail around on the guitar.
When the show ended, dUg said that they’d be hanging out to sign stuff. I didn’t realize where they were going to be, so I was waiting in the wrong place. By the time they got to the merch booth, the line was so long (at it was already 12:30 with a n hour drive ahead of me), that I just went home. But that’s okay. Next time they come back I’ll definitely hangout.
My former school mate Charles (who was a grade below me in grammar school) was also at the show. I didn’t see him there and haven’t actually seen him since grade school. He told me he was 2nd on line at the hangout at the end of the show…damn!, but he took the amazing pictures down here at the bottom of the post (he was right up against the stage). I love the one on the right where you can see the blur that is Jerry’s drumstick.
The one at the top was from me (I don’t know why some phone cameras are so good and mine just…isn’t). I taped some video clips as well, but man the loudness was overwhelming for my poor Samsung and it’s all just static.