[ATTENDED: November 21, 2016] Kings of Spade
I hadn’t heard of Kings of Spade before this show. They are a four piece from Hawaii–billing themselves as blues rock, although they play a lot more. They make for an interesting looking band. The bassist (Tim Corkerand) guitarist (Jesse Savio) (not Hawaiian natives) have long beards and look like they’re from the North East (which they are). The drummer Matt Kato and singer are Hawaiian natives. Singer Kasi Nunes has a bright red mohawk and a voice to match.
I missed the first song, (it’s an hour to the theater, give me a break), but the band played a solid set after that and boy were they good.
The band plays off of each other really well. The bass and drums are really tight, keeping time changes and shifts totally spot on. They have a few songs that absolutely rock out and then stop on a dime to switch to a different genre. “Way She Goes” is a full barrel rocker until the middle when it shifts to an almost reggae beat.
Overall, their set is full of really catchy grooves and foot-stomping (well, as much as you can when you’re seated).
After a few songs, Savio commented about how different it is playing in a club versus a theater. I knew they had recently played with King’s X at The Stone Pony. The Sellersville Theater is about as far as you can get from it–and I’ll take the civilized Sellersville over the rowdy Stone Pony (although it is weird to sit during a rocking show). He said that the biggest difference was the noise level and alcohol consumption. And that there were tables here. But he also said that we were so quiet and respectful during the songs–which was cool, don’t worry–but it was so quiet that he could hear the drummer humming along. And he never knew the drummer hummed before. As long as we were loud after the songs (and we were) he was cool with it.
While it’s hard to take your eyes off of Nunes and her giant mohawk, guitarist Savio is a great player to watch. He switches effects–from distortion to wah to some other interesting sounds including a talk box without ever losing the essential feel of his playing–bluesy, grungy bar guitars. And his soloing is in the bluesy tradition of grooving and not showing off. It led to some really great jams for a band whose songs are relatively short on record.
And Nunes is much more than her mohawk. Man, does she have a powerful voice. Sellersville is a fairly quiet theater anyhow, but there were a few times when she held a note and slowly moved the microphone away but I could still hear her even un-miced.
It was clear that they were having fun. Nunes introduced a song about losing someone and then Savio played the intro to a different song. He laughed and said, remember that intro for the next song. This one is about the War of 1812.
Before introducing their song “Ronda Rousey,” she asked if anyone was into ECW. A few people cheered and when they asked who would win on Dec 31, they were shocked when the person said Amanda (I didn’t know what they were talking about). Nunes said that they love Ronda and wrote a song about her. It rocked.
Some of their songs are super catchy, like the all out rocker “Strange Bird.” And “Boys in My Band” from thier first record is pretty great, too.
When they were about done, they said they had one song left. And then retracted that and said that the stage guy was holding up two fingers–two songs. They apologized and said they’d keep us entertained for 8 minutes (which they did). Savio said that he’d be anxious to hear King’s X as well–in fact that’s who he’d come to see even though his band was playing.
For the final song, Nunes said she wrote this song in the 70s and they launched into a great cover of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” It sounded great. They got the perfect guitar sound for th esolos and Nunes totally handled the tough task of singing like Janis (although she didn’t do the big scream at the end–save your voce!_)
The band doesn’t even have an entry on Setlist (someone needs to get on that!). So I don’t know the setlist. But from listening to their two CDs on bandcamp, I recognize these songs from the show. Their record is good, but man their live show is tremendous. Check them out if they play near you–and don’t be late!
They were also nice enough to take a photo with me (I’m not from Hawaii so I couldn’t do the hand gesture).
Boys in My Band
Way She Goes
Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin cover)