Live: Crash Kings

Crash Kings pic #1
Crash Kings. Photo by Jim Wright.

THE MERIDIAN -- 12/18/09: As the single "Mountain Man" moves up the Alternative chart, and "It's Only Wednesday" takes a ride on an apocalyptic road trip in Zombieland, the Crash Kings return to Houston.
Opening for Rooney this time around, Tony and Mike Beliveau, along with native Houstonian Jason Morris, have created a sound not easy to put your finger on. As Tony chimes in with his strong, catchy vocals, he calls upon his clavinet to do his dirty work. The clavinet, a keyboard used more often in the '70s and equipped with the largest whammy bar I've ever seen, take the place of guitar here.
Tony uses the instrument to its full potential. Intertwining '70s guitar chords, melodic pop piano, and distorted-yet-dreamy blend of notes that slide around the room, leaving Mike and Jason to hold down a heavy back beat of bass and drums, pounding away as if they were two kids seeing who could hit the hardest. Each role comes together to complement one another note by note, creating songs easy to place on radio rotation and bang out live with 100% power.
Overcoming the hurdle of being an opening band isn't easy, yet these guys make big noise for a three piece. It's a strange mix of piano-pop and rock 'n roll that they've morphed into something all their own. The band fed off a crowd that seemed to eat up each diverse moment the band dished out -- with hook after hook, you could see the crowd getting behind the trio. Even older members of the crowd (remember, it's a Rooney show) could be seen stepping closer to the stage as the Crash Kings stormed The Meridian. Enthusiasm filled the stage as each line was harmonized by the crowd. The band seemed humbled and amused by the response.
The band's full-length is a good listen; as I think back, I'm recalling gems, "Mountain Man," "Raincoat," and "14 Arms," that stood out for me on the debut album. I'm more responsive to the band live, however. Live the Crash Kings bring high energy, captivating songwriting, and solid musicianship. No studio tricks and no producer. The songs just seem to have a life of their own, raw and breathing. You can hear the love of music the Crash Kings bring to their records and live performances. Honesty is hard to find sometimes in this ego-driven society. Let's hope they hold on to this down the road. END