Drunk on Love: Kings X and Kings of Spade at GOTTROCKS Greenville

Drunk on Love: Kings X and Kings of Spade at GOTTROCKS Greenville

“Love. I’m obsessed with it…it makes the world go around,” mused dUg Pinnick, long term singer, bassist, and leader of Kings X. The Kings X and King of Spade show at Greenville, SC’s GOTTROCKS venue was nothing if not a love fest between the bands and their audience. Both sets proved to be a rapturously joyous events for both the performers and their audience, even if dUg had a little bit much to drink and was ended up happily drunk on a little more than just love.

“I shouldn’t have drunk…THAT… whatever THAT was!” exclaimed dUg while pointing the spot at the front of the stage where an audience member left him a shot of… something, and just after taking a minor tumble backwards onto the stage after dangling his bass into the crowd for ecstatic audience members to strum upon. “I’m so drunk” mouthed dUg humorously, and with tongue firmly in cheek, to his engineers just off stage during the second half of Kings X’s set. dUg might have been a little tipsy after drinking a margarita and another mixed drink during their set, but he was way more drunk on the love radiating off the crowd. Love for a band that has often been unfairly maligned over the years, even though Jeff Ament himself stated that he believed that, “Kings X invented grunge.”

Kings X was never quite taken seriously by the metal, and later grunge, crowd because of the band’s seemingly Christian rock leanings (which were about as ambiguously strident as U2’s were), then lost their place in the graces of said Christian fans and Christian music and book stores when dUg confirmed his homosexuality back in 1998 (said “Christian” stores yanked all of King’s X’s music). Nevertheless, dUg and Kings X have soldiered on (both together and on their own in side projects-including the excellent Tres. Mts with the aforementioned Ament), and created some inspiring, as well as hard rocking, music for several decades now.

GOTTROCK’s intimate setting provided plenty of opportunity for both bands to engage the crowd on the type of level that you can only experience at venues of this size. dUg high fived and fist bumped several audience members along with allowing us to strum his bass (of which I myself got to do). The energy that Kings X brings to their live performances is as strong as ever and rippled through the crowd like a wave from the first opening notes of “Groove Machine” off their 1998 masterpiece Tapehead to the final reverberations of “Dogman” off their Brendan O’Brien produced 1993 album of the same name. Kings X’s extraordinary musical talent was most aptly displayed during an ethereal performance of both “A Box” off of 2005’s Ear Candy and “Over My Head” off 1989’s Gretchen Goes to Nebraska. Guitarist Ty Tabor showed why he is one of his generation’s best guitar players, and is often unjustly overlooked. Throughout, the audience was part of the show and really gave dUg and the band a real lift, especially when he and Tabor turned the microphones toward the audience, which collectively became Kings X’s lead singer for a rousing performance of “Goldilox.” It was one of those moments that anyone who was there won’t easily forget.


The love was just as strong as for Kings of Spade, a funky, fuzzy, bluesy, and all around great band from Hawai’i. Lead singer Kasi Nunes (who was rocking a dUg t-shirt that night) has the kind of voice that seduces and inspires at the same time. From their own material to incredible covers of “House of The Rising Sun,” and “Piece of My Heart,” Nunes sang, smiled (often at the same time), and simply wowed the crowd with her ability. It was unlike any live vocal performance I’ve heard in as long as I can remember. Her radiatively genuine and good natured vibes were incredibly catching. “That’s some real love brother!” she exclaimed while fist bumping an overcome fan standing just a few feet from myself. She even gave away a copy of the band’s newest CD from the stage and shared plenty of awesome moments with individual audience members. All of the members of Kings of Spade were joyously interactive with the crowd. It was incredibly refreshing to see such an open, genuine and spontaneous interaction from a band from so far away with a crowd of concert goers. The majority of the crowd most likely didn’t know their music, but were completely won over by their power and love for what they do, and their fans. They played to the crowd at GOTTROCKS like they were a crowd of local supporters back home in Honolulu.

dUg’s declaration of the power of love to unite, break down prejudices, and create fulfilling shared experiences was spot on that night. All concerts are, to some extent, shared love fests between the bands performing and their adoring crowds, but when a band that is a little less well known, or has never played the venue or city before performs and draws a crowd that is that into them, or ends up being that into them by the end of the show, a truly lovely, and loving, experience was had for all.

 See them on tour:

Thu 17 Sep 2015 The Chance Poughkeepsie, NY, US Tickets
Thu 17 Sep 2015 The Loft, The Chance Theater Poughkeepsie, NY, US Tickets
Fri 18 Sep 2015 The Eclipse Binghamton, NY, US Tickets
Sat 19 Sep 2015 Unknown venue Clark, NJ, US Tickets







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