It’s a shame there weren’t more local heavy music guitarists apparent in attendance because, as in the context of progressive heavy acts like Gorguts or Obscura, Kaki King‘s performance was exemplary of the skill and dexterity required to transcend limitations of genre and style. Her songwriting demonstrates a deep appreciation for the sound of the guitar itself while the tour supporting her latest work, The Neck is a Bridge to the Body, is a thoughtful exploration of the instrument as a physical artifact and of music as a transformative experience.
Fox Cabaret was an ideal venue for a concert with some unconventional theatrical elements: not only was the guitar the star of the show but also the guest speaker of King’s set via a short video segment projected on the screen over the stage, which recounted a lighthearted but poignant tale about growing up as an unusual guitar that struggled to find meaning and purpose in the world. The album title’s notable absence of any reference to the head suggests that this is a visceral, synaesthetic experience rather than an intellectual one, intended to be directly absorbed through sight and sound.
Uniformly attired in white with eyes veiled behind large white-rimmed sunglasses, King wordlessly propelled the audience through several compositions until a pronounced break, during which she spoke at length about the unique construction of her guitar and the story so far of The Neck is a Bridge to the Body tour, before diving back into the guitar’s frenetic stream of coloured light and moving images for two more songs.
Opening act Glockabelle‘s retro-synth cabaret has a strong playful element and childlike zeal for simple stories on vintage and exotic instruments (i.e. early Casio keyboards, drum machine and a glockenspiel.) Sung in both French and English, Annabelle Cazes performed her charming one-woman show in the presence of a stuffed tiger (honourary bassist) and a live napping drummer, whom Cazes tucked in beneath a blanket between songs about a variety of anthropomorphic animals that (respectively) have a barbecue, kiss, and fall into a swimming pool.
While a clear departure from the concerts Factory Worker Media typically covers, King’s and Cazes’ performances were a thrilling reminder that the transgression of boundaries in music can occur anywhere along the genre spectrum. An inspiring example of unique creative expression.