Words & Images by: Andrew Bruss
Crash Kings :: 12.13.09 :: Middle East :: Cambridge, MA
Crash Kings won over the Middle East Downstairs even though the sold out crowd was not their own. The keys/drum/bass trio was the first of three acts slated to perform on a snowy Sunday evening in Cambridge. With the odds against them, Crash Kings performed a 45-minute set that rocked to its core, effectively turning a crowd of strangers into fans.
The bulk of the set consisted of material off their self-titled debut, but they played a few songs that have yet to be released on any proper studio product. Bassist Mike Beliveau and drummer Jason Morris were the real core of the experience as the rhythm section functioned in perfect unison. Their ability to follow each other made you wonder if these guys slept and breathed on the same cycles.
Frontman Tony Beliveau (brother of Mike) was the most active onstage, holding down vocal duties as well as keyboards. Although his singing felt a bit forced, he made up for it with his instrumental work. His keyboard featured a steel extension that acted like a whammy bar, bending the notes and allowing his rig to play the role of electric guitar.
Beliveau's guitar simulation was most apparent during their set closing cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs." Without a guitar player, the leads made famous by guitarist Tony Iommi were played by Tony Beliveau, who botched the vocals in the second verse but nailed the riffs, even capturing some of Iommi's dark tone.
Crash Kings borrow from a lot of the same resurgent rock we've heard over the past decade and do their best to make it their own. Unfortunately, their sole studio product fails to capture the power they bring to the stage. But, as an opening act who won over another group's sold out crowd, it's fair to say their live show is the best asset they have to work with.
Crash Kings tour dates available here.
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