Back in the 90’s you were guaranteed to see a few bands every week on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball: Dio, Maiden, Motley Crue, and a few other staples of the rock/metal scene. But one of the most criminally underrated and underappreciated bands of that time was King’s X. Having a bare bones three person band meant their songs were usually all killer, not filler. And now after 30 years of being together, they’re releasing a new album. Luckily this usually means that there will be a mini-tour which I was lucky enough to get a chance to check out at their recent Starland Ballroom show.
After a rousing “Jerry” chant in support of Drummer Jerry Gaskill, the band took the stage and kicked into their set – Starting off with the aptly titled “Groove Machine”, which really set the tone for the evening. The lyrics “Lay down your burdens by the riverside. Take a deep breath and go for a rid. Welcome to the Groove Machine” really are an invite for the crowd to become one with the band and their music. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. It was a really stunningly beautiful experience.
“Over My Head” is always a personal song for Doug, especially since it was written about his upbringing. Everytime I’ve seen or heard them play it, during the breakdown Doug always takes a few moments to ‘sermonize’, if you will, with the crowd about various topics and tries to advise them about living a good life not only for themselves but also for others. Tonight’s version was no different. Doug explained how life is short… he woke up and was old. And how while we watch generations grow up, we love our children even though we’ve messed them up. There are too many criticisms today with not enough love, compassion and understanding. How we need to spend more time on the fine art of friendship and stop being so sensitive about everything. Look to the future, the past is for learning. Follow your mind and your soul. Find yourself in the world. And always remember you’re beautiful and to give someone a hug. Doug said he didn’t get a hug until he was 22, which sounds unbelievable if you think about it, but possible and sad at the same time.
The band took a few moments to compose themselves, then delved into one of my personal favorite songs, “King”. This song was NOT on the written setlist. And to the security guard standing beside me’s surprise, the band was still playing. I guess they might have been a few minutes over their scheduled ending time at this point.
However after “King”, the true highlight of the night was “Goldilox”. As the clean guitar intro started, a HUGE cheer came from the crowd, and much to the surprise of the band, the AUDIENCE sang the entire song. I believe Doug probably was going to let them sing a few bars at first but instead let everyone sing it to the band almost as a group karaoke. It wound up being a truly amazing and beautiful ending to the show.