Alexis Kings took to the stage at Proud Camden to officially launch their new EP, ‘Squire’, which was released on the 27th June. The setting was intimate, the stage barely a step away from the encouragingly lively and bustling crowd.
‘Squire’ is the band’s first extended release, consisting of only six songs (two of them radio edits), and consequently the set was short and sweet, lasting only about 45 minutes plus a little overtime. Those 45 minutes were time enough for the band to demonstrate their musical skill and contagious, frenetic energy.
Opening with ‘Chivalry’, a track which displays the strength of lead singer Brendan Aherne’s honey dipped vocals, is a marriage between the deep drawl of Caleb Followill and the twang of Alex Turner, the crowd were immediately hooked. Bolstered by an undeniably catchy chorus, the song set a precedent for others to come; strong vocals surrounded by a heady combination of guitar, drum and bass, all delivered with the excited urgency of a band who really want people to hear their music, and enjoy it.
‘1972’ was a crowd favourite. With the steady toll of the drums and the repetition of its strikingly heavy guitar riff reverberating across the stage, this song was perfectly suited to a live setting. The looser, unfettered sound the band achieved throughout the set served to highlight the rockier elements of this track, and it became a fevered display of impassioned playing.
Even stripped back, Alexis Kings can engage an audience. ‘Sugar Darlin’’, performed by Aherne alone, as the other members left the stage, was an engaging example of their ability to take on languid and unhurried tracks with just as much skill as their faster, heavier ones. With a hint of Mystery Jets to it, ‘Sugar Darlin’’ also further confirmed the undeniable fact that Alexis Kings are a band of many sounds, several of which come out more so live then they do on the album. Whilst ‘Squire’ is rife with slick and crisp guitars. guitarist Sam Privett proved his versatility with resonating guitar riffs which echoed across the vocals. Whilst on the EP itself the tracks are all very polished, up close and personal in an intimate setting like Proud, they were grittier, and took on elements of punk and grunge.
The titular song from the EP, ‘Squire’, was saved until the end. Much like the other tracks, it took on an edgier, heavier sound in the thrill of a live setting. In an EP made up of strong tracks, ‘Squire’ is undoubtedly the best, with all the trappings of a summer hit. Live, Aherne leant forward in to the crowd, as they surrounded him and responded with gusto when asked to sing along.
Watching Alexis Kings live, the passion they have for their craft is tangible, and they play with an energy which envelops the crowd, inviting them to be an active part of the show. At times, it was a little messy and the sound quality wavered in places. There were also some issues with instruments and feedback. Likewise, some of the melodies so prevalent on the album were lost in the transition from studio to stage. But none of this really mattered. If anything it allowed the band to play with an ardent enthusiasm which imbued their tracks with palpable passion. As they went to leave the stage, apologising for running over time, cries for “one more song” rippled through the audience. Any band who can instil this kind of reaction from a crowd is one worth watching. As they finally left the stage, having succumbed to an impromptu encore, Aherne insisted that this is “the start of something beautiful“, and Alexis Kings truly have the potential to fulfil his declaration.
This Alexis Kings article was written by Eleanor Kendrick-Jones, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.