I first saw KING’S X in 1988 at a short-lived Deep Ellum venue named Tommy’s. It was completely by accident – the show I’d gone downtown to see had been cancelled, and in the pre-internet age you often found out about cancellations by a note stuck to the door of the bar. We were already in the area, so we paid the six bucks or whatever it was and went in and enjoyed the show. I wasn’t completely blown away and despite enjoying their debut album, I lost interest and moved on. BIG MISTAKE.
Fast forward to 2013. A friend gets me interested in them again, and we all go catch the band for their sold-out show at Trees Dallas. I’m completely blown away by the performance and by all of the great music that I had missed over the years. Now, if KING’S X is playing in town, I’m there without question, so naturally the opportunity to cover the show on Friday night for Amps And Green Screens was a no-brainer. There were three advertised local bands – JUNK, SUPERNOVA REMNANT, and BEZEL. All three were nice and tight, and played great blues/rock sets – I really enjoyed them, and would strongly recommend catching them all at a local show or showcase.
By now, the venue was completely full. It was a sold-out show, and people were lining the rails, the stairs, and there was not much room to move anywhere in the room. After a somewhat strange sounding sound check, the lights went down at 10 pm sharp, and the crowd went nuts. The curtain opened to reveal… not KING’S X. Instead, we were greeted by KINGS OF SPADE, a four piece outfit from Hawai’i that KING’S X brought over to the mainland to open the shows on their summer tour. Fronted by pink mohawked Kasi Nunes, they blew the crowd away with a short but insane performance of some amazing bluesy rock, including closing with a fantastic and spot on cover of Janis Joplin’s “(Take A Little) Piece Of My Heart”. It was a nice surprise addition to the show – so surprising that midway through their set, much of the crowd was yelling “What’s your name?” to find out who this mystery band was.
Finally, around 10:30, the curtains opened and KING’S X started the night off by launching into “Groove Machine”, which always gets the crowd pumped. Over the next hour and a half, they hit all of their spots with a well-chosen 15-song set, including greats like “Pillow”, “A Box”, “Flies And Blue Skies”, and “Over My Head”. Several of the songs turned into extended jams as they are wont to do, and every one of them sounded great live and somewhat raw, instead of just being a faithful reproduction of the original recordings.
This was the first night of the tour, and despite a minor error with the set list (dUg Pinnick accidentally forgot that they were playing “(Thinking And Wondering) What I’m Gonna Do” and introduced “Everybody Knows A Little Bit Of Something” instead, so had to quickly retune while making silly faces at the crowd) they were very smooth throughout the entire set.
There were several “Jerry! Jerry!” chants in recognition of drummer Jerry Gaskill’s recovery from his recent health issues, and the crowd even started a couple of “dUg! dUg!” chants, which he tried and failed to turn into “Ty!” (Tabor, guitarist) chants , much to the delight of the crowd.
The band finished up their regular set with “We Were Born To Be Loved” and did the obligatory stage departure, only to return moments later and rip into “Go Tell Somebody”, followed by “Dogman.”
They closed with the classic “Goldilox”, with the crowd singing the song while dUg smiled and seemingly attempted to make eye contact with everyone in the room as a thank you for another great night. I regret all of the years that I missed seeing KING’S X live, and all I can do is make sure I don’t miss another show. Ty, dUg, and Jerry definitely made sure that everyone got their money’s worth on Friday night, and then some.
LIVE WORDS AND PHOTOS: FRANK ZABER