Art Credit: Dave Singley
Jack Killen EP Release show at Mercury Lounge was an experience with live music that I rarely have without being an insanely devoted fan. State the obvious, Killen it!! Holy shit did I just see this. I rarely see music and do no research, which makes me a total Killen newbie.
The crowded room had just enough space to hold a beer and move your arms in the air. Starting with hearing what sounded like a gaming soundtrack on the keyboard I was giddy staring at the unlikely frontman Jack Killen with his hard-hitting band. He is adorably uncool in a cool kind of way which had me imagining how Andy Kaufman might appropriate a rockstar. Whatever, you just gotta love him!
Jack Killen’s affection and inclusiveness with his audience is a delight to witness. While playing the keyboard and singing, he nods his head and opens his arms to affirm his solidarity with his devoted fans. They chanted while fist-pumping these words / I'm going renegade, renegade / and money money money / with repetitive conviction. The comradery at the Mercury felt like a small-scale Pogues show.
Killen and his band play with ease and familiarity. Making music together is just second nature. Alex Forbes fast guitar runs dart around the manic keyboard while Jason Langdon on bass and energizer drummer Tim Traynor bring on the punch. The spontaneity continued with the finale as Langdon switched to saxophone with stand-in bassist Rikky Walsh. The blinding strobes added to the never-ending climax of intensity, making this Thursday night the ultimate party power-rock experience.
"I’m not Folk” claimed Jack Killen, he continued, "there is no Folk in NYC.....you go live upstate, I’m staying here." But with lyrics like / it makes me want to SCREAM / I'm tired of being broke in the land of money / he finds his voice in topical dissent. In his unfolky way Jack and the band party and protest Killen style.
EP: Black Sneakers on Concrete
Label: Axis Mundi Records
Jack Killen: keys / vocals
Alex Forbes: electric guitar
Tim Trainer: drums
Jason Langdon: bass / saxophone