Kaki King
Dingwalls, London
July 13, 2010

When does standing in the front row give you a direct line to god? Riddle me this, concert attendees. Just because your idol, or current object of interest, is able to look you in the eye while they’re singing doesn’t mean that this is your opportunity for some face-to-face “let’s get to know each other” time. Really, it doesn’t. And it’s rare that a concert is marred by one asshole that doesn’t get the hint and won’t shut up, but shit does happen, and it happened to Kaki King and to the respectful crowd who had to endure this one “fan” and his relentless pursuit in establishing a “connection”.

Of course, he thought he was the shit. He stood there, smug and rotund, gum-smacking away, at one point King spied him mid-chew, mouth open, and was disgusted by this oaf’s complete lack of respect and manners. Naturally, he stood there oblivious to his own spectacle, either trying to engage her in meaningless banter (or impressing with his bi-lingual talents) or just filming her every move, like some kind of obstinate voyeur. I can only sympathise with King for having to endure this nuisance front-on, but the blame in his ascendancy from mild irritation to full-blown pest was in part her fault.

It all started fine… King and cohort Dan Brantigan took to the stage, making excuses for their absent drummer, with King being full of good humour throughout, explaining the meaning behind “Bone Chaos In The Castle” and relating her amusement (to the point of tears and inability to speak) about broken-backed dachshunds with their legs in wheelchair chariots. It was perhaps her friendly, easy-going demeanour, established early on with a broken string and an impromptu version of “Communist Friends”, with King’s preceding “Does anybody have any….?” that set things on this unfortunate path.

Given that the track was from her latest album Junior, it was surprising in how little from it was played. This may have had something to do with the absence of a drummer, and the feeling this was very much an ad-libbed/seat of the pants set. The presence of King’s vocals on only a handful of tracks, with only the invite-to-a-pity-party “Sunnyside” (also from Junior) coming to mind at the moment, meant this was a largely instrumental set. To give full credit, it was Brantigan’s bong-like EVI-synth that lent a rather Pink Floyd-esque quality to the proceedings, battling King’s own nuanced guitar technique for dominance.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. The feckless fuck in the front row remained undimmed right till the end. “Can I ask a question and a request?”, he ventured. Here’s a tip for anybody in an audience, don’t ask a musician to play someone else’s song as an encore, regardless of whether they’ve recorded it or not. You’re basically telling them “your own music sucks, play somebody else’s”. Show some manners, show some etiquette. Encoring with her magic-hands tour-de-force “Playing With Pink Noise” and the ambient pedal-steel beauty of “Gay Sons Of Lesbian Mothers” King showed the moronic champions of hack guitarists (“What do you think of The Edge?”, to quote our friend) what invention and talent (and charm, no less) really is.

Now, what do I think of The Edge? An Irishman with a delay pedal.