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King Charles// 02 Academy Leeds/ 17.11.12

Photo credit: Green Man Festival

If one thing hits you as King Charles walks onto the stage, it’s his look. Before I get into the nitty gritty of the music and performance, I need to take a moment to comment on his hair. His hair is a kind of half beehive, half dreadlocks, maybe a cross between Amy Winehouse and Russell brand. His hair, coupled with a pencil moustache and his outfit choice of a black Leather waistcoat and no shirt underneath, gave off a vibe of a performer who wasn’t going to sit back and do a quiet acoustic set.

The band started off with ‘Bam Bam’ a fast paced catchy “folk-pop” anthem. The song was good but the set started a little quietly- probably due to a crowd of both fans and subdued indie partygoers- but as things went on the Charles’ began to turn the crowd fully on side. Musically the band sounds a lot heavier and rockier live than there recorded output, songs were sped up and the guitars are that little bit louder which complements King Charles’ stage persona. He has a Freddie Mercury like swagger to the way he commands the stage and would periodically power walk to the front of the stage and stand there with an expression which didn’t ask, but demanded to be loved. His band provided excellent support (with a bassist, drummer, keys and backing vocals), they interacted well and during ‘Loveblood’ a couple of members switched to percussion drums, a trick which is somewhat overused but still went down a treat.

The set was only just under an hour long but when it came to the final track- King Charles’ recent reworking of Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Tire’- the atmosphere was wild, with a large mosh pit opening up and a great extended guitar solo to finish. It was a good night with a great set list of catchy songs and a confident, stylish performance from a front man with knowledge of how to hold a crowd. The post-gig, second stage appearance was a bit weird… in a yellow t-shirt; casually drinking a glass of wine…but why not?

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