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DAVIS, Faulkner, King Washington At The Satellite, Wednesday August 10th 2016


King Washington


The Satellite was presenting another great night of music with three bands, which all had an eclectic range while having their own distinct style. First, DAVIS was simply the moniker for Davis Fetter, a young guy playing a somewhat bluesy guitar alone on stage, before surrounding himself with three musicians, who layered his songs very nicely. Alone, he sounded a bit bluesy, a plaintive rock guitar with a visceral delivery, almost rap-like at times, but the result got more diverse with the full band. ‘Crooked Finger’ was a song with an attitude, with a sort of outlaw country vibe and a very catchy foot-tapping tempo, and almost unsurprisingly, his next song was called ‘Fuck You’, but the surprise came from its almost doo-wop-y sweetness. If the pedal steel added an authentic country feel, his set was definitively rock & roll with an eye toward the past and a Southern dusty road, delivered with a strong and at time raucous voice but revealing catchy poppy hooks. They also covered ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, which fitted well in the middle of his modern tunes, but since the guy has been compared to Bob Dylan, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Beastie Boys; John Lennon and James Brown, this will tell you about the range of impression he can make on people! I kept having a sort of Black Lips vibe in my mind, with a tender core and a sweet spot for outlaws.

Faulkner delivered a super high-energy set with a series of explosive guitars, the type of rock arena dimension you wouldn’t necessarily expect on the small stage of the Satellite, but that would barely be a premiere. They were rocking hard, and hitting hard, with all the right dramatic moves you would expect from big rock stars, while guitar and bass were backed by piano and synth and multi-harmony vocals … I don’t think it is a coincidence if the DJ played Muse just after their set! There was a real aggression and sort of darkness behind their catchy melodic pop choruses, an aggression especially well served by frontman Lucas Asher on vocals and guitar and his abrupt dance with bassist Dimitri Farougias. And I was not really surprised to learn that they collaborated with Wu Tang Clan’s RZA for the track ‘NY Anthem’, a song which debuted on ESPN’s Draft Academy and which is featured on their Recent EP, called ‘Revanchist’. No trace of RZA at the Satellite, but the energy and the revenge were certainly there, a rap energy transmuted into a rock show that landed on us like a thunderstorm of lightnings, and a finale hooky song which was telling us to start a revolution.

If the members of King Washington were far less on the aggressive side, their excellent and eclectic set brought a big uplift to the show with harmony galore and a lot of guitars chords. Five on stage, their first song did remind me about Mumford and Son’s folksy style somehow, that sort of quiet song which explodes in unison harmonies, but most of the tunes that followed didn’t, beside may be ‘Old Highway 9’. If there was a common thread through their diverse tunes, it was their soft-folk breezy harmonies, almost Laurel Canyon meets Crosby, Stills and Nash or the Eagles or even the Fleet Foxes, depending on your age, but they also could unleash a rather funky upbeat tempo wrapped around high pitched vocals, that made everyone dance. It was surprising how they could go from a Fleet Foxes vibe to a Prince and the Bee Gees one, from quiet melancholia to exuberant fun, from slide guitar to piano ballad with a flair à la Randy Newman. They also were big entertainers, playing around and inviting people to dance on stage, and since they mentioned Radiohead at the end of their set – they were giving away their CDs with a ‘give what you want’ price as Radiohead did in the past – I could even say that their most chaotic song, ‘The Overload’, was a bit Radioheadish. Notice, I haven’t even mentioned the Beatles yet, but it’s even more tempting knowing that one of the frontmen, Tyson Kelly, played John Lennon in the acclaimed stage production ‘Let It Be’. Now that I think about it, he had the look and certainly the voice. An interesting part of the story is that Tom Kelly, his father was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame, as the composer or co-composer of hits like Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colours’, the Bangles ‘Eternal Flame’, the Pretenders’ I’ll Sand By You’, and even Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’… Needless to say, Tyson may have inherited of some good musical abilities in his DNA! King Washington have been compared to many bands you know, but they have their own thing going on, and they play their multi-influenced music with a lot of heart and infectious joy.

More pictures here





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