After the SYTYCD finale I rushed out the door and headed to the Corner Hotel to see one of my favourite musicians of late. Kaki King is a ridiculously talented American guitarist with four albums to her credit. She’s currently in the country supporting the Foo Fighters (she featured on a track from their latest album). While their music is worlds apart Grohl is a huge fan – he once introduced her with “There are some guitar players that are good and there are some guitar players that are really f&%*ing good. And then there’s Kaki King.” Couldn’t agree more.
Although best known for her guitar chops she is a muso’s muso singing and playing drums on many of her tracks and, more recently, she’s added keyboards and bass to her album credits. Her voice, while not powerful, has an airy, fragile quality that complements her emotional pieces well.
Yeah, I’m a fan.
The gig was great. A fairly full Corner is still a pretty intimate venue and Kaki worked the crowd well. I was a couple of minutes late and she’d already started but the first song I heard was also one of my favourites, a classic break-up song, Life Being What It Is. It’s awesome to arrive at a gig and have immediate chills! The diminutive 5’1″ artist was a challenge to see at times, especially when playing lap guitar!, but that didn’t really matter as I was able to clearly hear the intricate sounds pouring forth from her guitar.
Montreal was a highlight. Beginning with a lovely, repetitive guitar riff she played it into a loop machine and overdubbed herself a couple of times. Then she puts her guitar down, strolls behind her drum kit and starts playing to her own guitar loop. Sensational.
Kaki King plays Montreal (in Montreal, not at the Corner).
She also had a couple of guests. Jeff Lang joined her on stage with what began as a lap-guitar duet. Half-way through Jeff, obviously an extraordinary guitarist, lifted it up a notch and Kaki jumped on the drums for a roof-raising song! Dan Brantigan also joined Kaki for a couple of tunes, playing an instrument that they affectionately referred to as “the bong”. It was some sort of electronic wind instrument (clarinet?) with a big dial on the bottom to control the feedback loop out of the device. It produced a theremin-like sound that is quite otherworldly. Like her voice, it supports Kaki’s music well. I hadn’t heard of Lang or Brantigan before the show but I’ll have to check them both out.
Overall I loved this gig; a low-key event watching a master guitarist and up-and-coming singer/songwriter. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next from this talented musician.