(Oblique headline reference: Seven Samurai → The Magnificent Seven → the magnificent three from Texas)
March 1, 2016 proved a stone killer treat to see arena habitues, the great KING'S X within the audience-friendly confines of a packed Whisky A Gogo, while playing a virtual "best of" set. (Above photos, bassist/vocalist Doug Pinnick, drummer Jerry Gaskill and guitarist Ty Tabor, grinning because it's great to be king!) This was huge!
Also huge-- It took me over a quarter of a century to photograph King's X, one of my alltime favorite bands ever. Why was that?
In one of its many heydays, I remember these working the Heavy Metal festivals with 5ft. plank walls around their immediate stages, no stairs nor ladders, with the only access being security guards literally hauling the pro photographer(s) over the wall to shoot, then grabbing and depositing you back over the wall after an allotted time. I do recall a few security guys/Metal fanboys getting appreciably into the Goth/death/speed/satanic or whatever mood by growling "Are you ready for .... Slayer?!?" to us or some such nonsuch which added to the overall sense of the absurd in this highly organized mayhem.
And long, tall Texans (by way of Illinois and currently California) King's X was (and is) a top flight act that only could be seen in these precarious arena and festival caliber circumstances. No more scaling sheer walls for yours truly post-numerous car crashes and physical setbacks (although 'am grateful to still be able to ride my horse, jog or hike with the dogs.) Without mega-special personal considerations, those days and nights of photographing metal fetes are behind me, I who photographed Buffalo Springfield live back in the day, age-wise.
King's X remain known for their power trio rapidfire tightness, total instrumental prowess, fascinating (read: never ever boring despite Prog accusations) melodic excursions, and one of the best American singers ever in Pinnick.
This major gig celebrated the return of drummer Gaskill after the acknowledged setback of his two serious heart attacks. In fact half the space between songs brought forth crowd cheers of "Jerry! Jerry!" in encouragement of his only recent recovery. The audience's gratitude was so much in force that the encore of "Goldilox" from the band's much beloved debut album Out of the Silent Planet prompted the crowd to sing the entire song before singer Pinnick could even begin. Instead, he sat on the stage edge in awe... These effusive displays of audience affection apparently are commonplace at King's X shows.
Official Set List
with Groove Machine added somewhere in there:
The World Around Me / Pillow / Flies And Blue Skies/
Vegetable/(Thinking And Wondering) What I'm Gonna Do / Everybody Knows A Little Bit Of Something /
A Box / Over My Head / Over And Over / Pleiades/
We Were Born To Be Loved / Go Tell Somebody / Dogman / (encore:) Goldilox
Middle-slotted act Kings of Spade accomplished what many contend cannot be done: totally win over an audience impatient for the headliner. Much of this hinged on the powerhouse vocals of consummate punk-looking Kasi Nunes (below,) the solid beats of friendly drummer Matt Kato (at bottom) and the band's bold and willing interaction with the crowd. The (normally malevolent provincial L.A. gang challenge) query of "where are you from" was met with the cheery rejoinder of "We're from Hawaii!"