Sunday, August 03, 2008

Newport Folk Festival 6 — Oh, Kaki

What a difference three years makes. Back in 2005, when I was covering this very same festival for this very same newspaper, I caught Kaki King on the Harbor Stage on Saturday afternoon. Well, it's Sunday afternoon this time, but I just finished watching Ms. King perform.

Last time — and I've saw her about a half-dozen times from about 2003-2006 — it was just her and her guitar. She didn't sing, just played classically influenced solo guitar, the kind of stuff John Fahey is known to do on occasion ... or always. This time, she was flanked by three other musicians and a sound guy/vocalist/tape-player. A full band. And it was so different. She sang. Yep. Sang.

It's a totally different thing for her. Oh sure, she still played her instrumental solo guitar pieces, but this time they were augmented by a full band playing wacky keyboard parts and slide-guitar riffs over. Just a big difference. It made the songs more full, less monotonous. And that was always the problem with Kaki King before: Yes, she's an amazing player and her tunes are adventurous, but after a while of seeing one person with her guitar without vocals, it all starts to sound the same. With a band, that's not the case.

I would definitely recommend checking her out nowadays. She can even sing very well, something you might not think since she avoided doing it for years. Oh, and yeah, the band closed with a cover of a classic German metal song. It made my day. I love German metal, seriously. Really good and made the set that much better.

That's it for now. Have to get back for Son Volt. Later.

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