Kaki King w/ Glockabelle
The Triple Door, Seattle, WA
Personification of an object as being is no new thing. Some of us name our cars, talk to our plants, have tea parties with stuffed animals. Kaki King, though, takes it to a whole new level with her latest album, and show The Neck is a Bridge to the Body, which she brought to Seattle’s intimate supper club, The Triple Door, for a show that was ultimately an experience.
Originally funded via Kickstarter, this project – in collaboration with Glowing Pictures – creates an immersive visual and aural experience unlike any other. The stage was set with “the guitar,” a solid white, Ovation acoustic, affixed to two stationary stands. An near-unthinkable way to play a guitar, but King walked onto the darkened stage, completely outfitted in white – down to the large white sunglasses she donned – and took a seat on a stool behind the instrument for what proved to be an eye-opening spectacle.
Centered around the guitar itself, rather than King, the show involved exemplary video projections against a giant backdrop as well as the guitar’s clean surface. Whether it was subtle lines, globs of vibrational goo, or emotive video of King’s NYC surroundings, the work was well-scripted, some in real-time reaction to the actual playing of the instrument, some not. King’s acclaimed quick-picking, slapping, scratching at, and overall handling, of the guitar ranged from percussional to Spanish, dramatic bass tones to ethereal whims.
In the middle of the set, there is a moment of touching humor, as the screen came alive with conversation, on behalf of the guitar itself. The story revolved around the guitar being an outsider, looking, sounding, relating, differently than other guitars. It was subtle, but if you were paying close attention – which you should have been – King’s own movements and animations during this track are a self-effacing nod to her sensibility.
More concept than connection – since King didn’t hold the guitar, doesn’t stand, or interact, or make eye-contact – the show, in its execution, was flawless. It is not until the end that King stepped out into the light and picked up a mic, that we were finally introduced. Her goofy, jet-lagged humor and humility were a winning contrast to the intellectual mind-melting of her musical talent.
Opener Glockabelle, shredding up her Casio keyboards and a glockenspiel (with cymbals on all of her fingers), sent the room into a frenzied tailspin. Watching her fingers whiz across the keys is an exercise in blinking. Her playful French lyrics, her stuffed tiger, her art-punk attitude, all of it is impressive.
Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Sunny Martini