Friday, August 28, 2015

King Raam - Smoke Season -- Black Cat - Aug 27 2015

by John Miller

It would be nice to be as confident as the show tonight. Both acts, Smoke Season and King Raam, were deliberate and precise.

Smoke Season - Playing their first show in DC, Smoke Season opened tonight. Their modern electronic leanings are different than what you might expect from west coast acts like Washed Out or Neon Indian. While the samples, noise, and effects are there, it doesn't overpower the live stuff and sonically it sets the mood. It ends up being quite the dichotomy when paired with Gabrielle Wortman's confident voice. While I can't quite offer a comparison to something similar, their music could be best compared to a mild Spring evening drive, in and around Los Angeles. Not too thick, the darkness trying its best to put a dent in the bright lights of the city. And even though the, not necessarily disinterested but no doubt sparse crowd was somewhat unmoved as the show began, the two played with the confidence of seasoned pros. 
King Raam - I might have witnessed the shortest break ever between set end and encore tonight. I'm not sure King Raam left the stage before they turned back around and came back for an amazing closing number but more on that later.

Perhaps the most distinctive element of King Raam, like Smoke Season before, is his voice. There are bits and pieces of Nick Cave, Ian Curtis, and even some Morrisey thrown in there for good measure. Personally, I find this particular style difficult but by the end of the night King Raam's confidence was contagious and almost had me bouncing along (to get me to almost anything should be considered high praise). At times, I felt as if I was watching the live score to a spaghetti western. There's definitely some cowboy here and I swear I heard horns. If not, there is more than enough room for a Ennio Morricone like trumpet solo somewhere.

As I mentioned earlier, King Raam did not make the crowd wait long for an encore. I have been known to skip out on encores, especially if the moment feels right (Death's show from a few months ago) but I am glad I stuck around for this one. The closing number was more upbeat than the earlier pieces and had the crowd ohhing and ahhing along throughout. I didn't know it was something I wanted to see but seeing a live sing along in a different language was amazing. Fantastic show.

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