King of The North - Saturday September 3, The Retreat
For anyone searching for that link between Rage Against the Machine and The Black Keys, King of the North may just be what you’re looking for. This impressive duo have the kind of hard-hitting sound and stage presence that can cause serious neck injury – as head banging becomes an involuntary reflex during their set. Massive guitar riffs and some interesting amp configurations from Andrew Higgs sets the foundation for their unique sound, which along with the frequent and electrifying drum solos from Danny Leo lifts this act beyond your standard local gig.
The already drunk and rowdy Retreat crowd were quick to get involved, swarming the stage as KOTN began with a brief intro before kicking off their epic 13-track set. Tracks ranged from old-school blues to modern hard-rock, with standout tracks including Ruby, It’s Been Too Long and New Woman. Their song Rainmaker received a massive response, with a gutsy bass that would impress Tom Morello and Zeppelin-inspired chants like “The sky will cry!”
The vocals were sometimes hard to hear over the thundering drum and guitar solos, especially during a couple of the later tracks, but it didn’t seem to bother the small mosh-pit that had formed front-of-stage.
The duo finished with Into Your Eyes, which began with a massive drum set from Leo but ended a little slow in comparison to the rest of the set.
Fortunately, the crowd wouldn’t let it end there and began a contagious encore chant. As only their tenth live show the boys seemed a little unprepared for the enthusiastic response, with Higgs declaring “Alright, we’ll do another one you fuckers… but we’ll have to make one up or do a cover.”
Opting for the latter, KOTN launched into a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, complete with an impressive guitar opening and pumped up instrumental outro. These guys are definitely worth checking out.
Liked: Stumbling upon a good band when I wasn’t expecting it.
Hated: Not being able to hear the vocals properly.
Drank: To the point where I tried dancing with a girl and dropped her on her head. Classy.