A small crowd had gathered inside of the Cargo Stage by the time I got there. Only a small crowd for it was far too early in the day to attract much more. A small crowd inside of a big venue. That, to me, is the biggest flaw of festivals; who has the right to say, this band goes on at 1pm, and this one goes on at 11pm? You cannot judge the finesse of any artist judging by the size of their fanbase. Van Gogh didn’t sell a painting in his life. But anyway, the four piece began their set with ‘All I Need’. The sound was one of brilliant technicality thrown into the mix with some funk and jazz influences too. Judging from the first few minutes of their opening track it became obvious that, although this genre is on some distant planet away from my chosen forté, their music is equally brilliant and I could never deny that. I couldn’t get over how tight they played. It is evident that this band practices endlessly and eternally.
As ‘All I Need’ came to a close, the small crowd which had been in the room beforehand had tripled in size. ‘Right Now’ was their second song. I told myself, ‘this is mainstream’, but it has a fitting touch of niche within itself.’ All I Need’ was a collaboration of a fantastic selection of chords strummed against a backdrop of different effects and with a deep and intricate bassline, flawless and complex drumming and melodic vocals.
The next few songs were just as good. For the first time in this festival a setlist did not disappoint me once. However I will not linger on the next three tracks as I want to focus my writing on their final song, ‘I Need Help’. Before its first chords were strung, the bands vocalist stated that ‘I Need Help’ is a track from their upcoming EP. As the song began the musicians seemed in a far more reflective state than they had been beforehand. I studied their emotions and sensed that this song was one of importance and which required a lot of emphasis. To me ‘I Need Help’ was by far the best song of the set. It was deep and enigmatic, complex and melancholic. In a peculiar way I could hear influences such as the Japanese musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto, as well as Sade and numerous contemporary pop. But this was more than just pop. The very essence of When I Am King’s music is far more than just pop. They may seem like nothing more than a mainstream band at first glance but they are not. They are a far deeper subgenre yet to be named. The climax of ‘I Need Help’ came as the music dove down into a falling diminuendo before rising up again and kicking down the door of noise and crashing into a cacophony of dual vocals and pure and beautiful pandemonium. The final chord rang similarities to that of the final chord of Thin Lizzy’s heart wrenching, ‘Still In Love With You’. And then it was all over. The crowd poured out and another crowd poured in. But I will leave you with this. When I Am King will be very big very soon. I promise you that. Keep your eyes and ears open for When I Am King.
Review By Joe Loftus
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