Kaki King keeps Paradise low key

A review of Kaki King at the Paradise on October 10

, Staff Writer

Guitar virtuoso Kaki King treated a full yet laid-back crowd to an intimate, friendly set at the Paradise that was scattered with casual conversation and a funky attitude that left you feeling like you had just hung out with an old friend playing tunes on her guitar.&

King’s talent is undeniable and completely mesmerizing to watch, and she and her band put together a set built mainly on material from King’s March release Dreaming of Revenge but included throwbacks to earlier material as well. While the rest of Boston sat glued to TV screens, cheering on Dice-K as he took the hill against the Rays to kick off the ALCS, King & Co and all her fans didn’t seem to be thinking of anything but jamming along to quick and energized guitar riffs, subdued melodies, and sing-along rock jams.&

After just enough time for a pint of Octoberfest in the lounge (and to see Lowrie drive in Bay to take the lead in the fifth), the club had filled up as Kaki King unassumingly took the stage and starting drumming out the opening riff to “Bone Chaos in the Castle”. The crowd pulled in close as her band wandered onstage behind her and seamlessly joined in with the song’s funky acoustic groove.&

Kaki King only stands about 5’ 1” and has a quiet, unassuming air about her, but she commands the stage with the presence of her sound and the captivating nature of her talent. She’s really amazing to watch. Staring at her fingers as they tap and pluck with lightning-fast precision, it’s hard to believe just how much sound is coming out of her instrument. Once Kaki King starts playing, it’s almost impossible to keep your eyes off of her.&

Clad in jeans and a funky t shirt with a jeweled design (“it’s bedazzled” she joked), King seems to approach her concerts with a casual appreciation and relaxation that besets the energy of her music. As unpretentious as can be, Kaki chatted with audience members, fretted over her new haircut, doted on her band members, and pleaded with everyone to tip their bartenders well. “For some reason people like to stay sober at my shows, which is cool, but bartenders hate me for it.” She claimed, taking a swig from her Amstel Light.&

The set varied enough to allow for some long, perhaps slightly drawn out, jam sessions filled with loops, keyboards, and high vocals that sounded thin (probably due to the ‘Dise’s acoustics) and some serious, all-out rock jams. “Pull Me Out Alive” and “Saving Days in a Frozen Head” provided some voltage to the night, while “Sad American” and “So Much for So Little” were softly lit instrumentals, hushing the crowd as everyone listening intently. Youtube sensation “Playing With Pink Noise” was the crowd-pleaser of the night. Friday night’s concert at he Paradise may not have been the most energetic show ever, but it was a show to truly focus on and appreciate, as Kaki King’s innovative and entertaining guitar technique is truly a spectacle. And the show ended just as the Sox got the final out to win Game 1. Good night indeed.

Opening for King was Hot Bitch Arsenal, a Trip-Hop/Alternative duo comprised of instrumentalist Kim Galibert and singer Christina Abbott. Sporting “Hello My Name Is” stickers on their shirts, the two put on a quirky and mesmerizing set of jazzy electronica for a crowd of a couple dozen. Despite a few pesky irks from the sound system, they managed to captivate the small audience and left a pleasant calm between sets. What at first seemed to be a strange choice for an opening act, Hot Bitch Arsenal turned out to be a fun discovery. Think Thievery Corporation with an extra heaping of jazziness thrown in. Fun for you techno/DJ/raver types.

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