King’s X 06/05/2009

Key Club – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito


It is a well known fact to musicians that King’s X are the Rodney Dangerfield of Rock & Roll. For 20+ years this three piece has toured the world bringing their muscular mix of metal, gospel, funk and blues to anyone willing to listen. From stealing the show Friday night at Woodstock ‘94 to playing every club/bar across the world King’s X always brings their A game when they take the stage. That’s why it’s truly a shame they have not gotten the respect they deserve after all these years. A fan for 15 years, I was first in line to grab tickets to their show here at the Key Club in West Hollywood, CA, knowing a King’s X performance is something special and not to be missed.


Within five minutes of our arrival, I already had a 50+ year old with a fluffy mullet and faded leather jacket grab my package (this is after I kindly informed her I was married). As offensive as that was, nothing offended me more than the performance by the main support act – Conspiracy of Thought. Wow, words can not describe how horrible this band was. Perhaps it was because they played out of tune? Perhaps it was the fact that their image was a joke (really, a bald front man with devil horns, cut the crap already), perhaps they just want to make me listen to a Paris Hilton record Whatever the excuse, these guys sound about 35 times worse than Mudvayne at their first practice, with a little bit of Static-X after taking 25 date rape pills and washing it down with a large cup of diarrhea. My goal with this site is to not be negative towards bands and their art, but TOC (as their 12 fans chanted between songs) have made me break that rule. During the entire set, I tried to find one nice thing to say about you guys, and you have given me nothing. Heck, ya’ll were even being douche bags during King’s X set, which just shows how worthless you are. I assume ya’ll paid big bucks to get that opening slot, perhaps that cash would have been better invested in musical lessons.


After a lengthy delay due to guitarist Ty Tabor’s having some kind of gear issue, King’s X took the stage just past Midnight. As is tradition at this point, the band opened with the mid 90’s classic “Groove Machine.”  A pulsating juggernaut that serves and the perfect musical welcome, within seconds the band was locked deep into the groove and ready to showcase their unique rock and roll masterpieces, both new and old.


Early in the set (when the band was not being further interrupted by one drunk knocking out another) the band took the chance to play some songs off their most recent album – XV. “Alright” was the perfect song to follow “Groove Machine”. It’s a quick and simple rock and roll song, that warms up both the band and the crowd. “Move” felt as if the ground was doing just that. With a super low end bass from Dug Pinnick shaking the club, the song slowly built into a melodic chorus with just enough bite to separate it from all those generic rock radio acts. A bit later, the band performed what is there recent mission statement. Perhaps a bit tired of not getting the respect they so deserve “Go Tell Somebody” encourages us fans to do just that. Consider this your warning.


The band also went deep into it’s extensive back catalogue. Early on we got two songs from their 1992 self titled album. “Black Flag” felt a bit spacier than normal, but was still solid and thunderous while “Lost In Germany” was rich in texture from both Tabor’s delicate guitar playing and rich vocal harmonies. Going even further back was the song “Summerland” (from the timeless record Gretchen Goes To Nebraska). The band didn’t even have to instruct the capacity crowd to sing along. Pinnick just sat back and let the crowd (which included Actor Hal Sparks) finish off the number.


Much like “Groove Machine” always opens the set, “Over My Head” always marks the end of the main set. Both my friend and I who have been to many King’s X shows over the years were shocked at just how quickly that end came. Regardless, we both knew we were in for a long musical journey as Pinnick screamed the songs opening lines into the mic. The song starts out rocking, but after the first few minutes it goes deep into a long jam. Lead by Tabor, the band brings you up only to crash you back down again into a slow slow groove. This is normally where Pinnick takes over free flowing on whatever he so chooses. I have heard how him discuss there is no bad music, only good music. I have heard him talk in depth about his grandmother (who is mentioned within the lyrics of the song) and I have heard him demand the decriminalization of Cannabis. On this night, not only did he call us a rock and roll choir for the rock and roll church of King’s X, but he touched on the importance of loving each other no matter who we are, or what we believe. Fitting for a band who was unfairly dubbed a “Christian” act only to lose a large number of those fans when Pinnick came out of the closet back in the 1990’s.


The band came back for an encore that featured two songs from their “Faith Hope & Love” record. The first one was “It’s Love” which according to Dug they don’t think they play very well, but the fans always ask for it. I thought they played it just fine as did everyone else in the crowd. It is a two way street with King’s X and their fans, energy going both ways, which is why they are still around and why we keep coming back for more. The last song of what appears to be an abbreviated set was “We Were Born To Be Loved.” Know to most as one of the themes Paul Shaffer’s CBS Orchestra uses to go in and out of commercial breaks on “The Late Show” the songs on again/off again riffs influenced just about every Nu Metal band even if those now long gone acts realized it or not.


A majority of the lyrics within King’s X songs showcase a struggle with self-worth and acceptance all while trying to remember to treat each and every single person on this planet with respect (still trying to come up with something nice to say about that opening band). Growing up, King’s X got me through some dark, dark times and seeing them is always cleansing for my soul. I can only imagine these men have been through. Worse than me I am sure, yet they keep on doing what they do no matter how big or small the crowd is. They are a constant reminder to not give up, to not give in and love myself for who I am no matter what anyone else thinks. They have truly helped me over the years. So go check em out. See this tour, buy an album, check em out on You Tube and once you are hooked like me – Go Tell Somebody.

A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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Saturday, June 6th, 2009 at 4:53 pm.
Categories: Reviews.

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