Recently I had the chance to see Denver band Rachel & The Kings play at The Gothic Theater in Englewood, Co. Let me tell you, folks… they crushed it.
Kicking straight into a high energy set, The Kings set the tone for a great night early, utilizing every shred of dynamic range to push these songs along live. Among the first things you’ll notice (beyond singer Rachel James’ thousand-watt smile) is that this is a band that is serious about having a good time on stage. My FAVORITE thing about watching live bands is watching them interact, and there were plenty of knowing smiles and nods tossed around between phenomenal bassist Noah Matthews, stellar violinist Ian Short, and the impossible-to-ignore drummer Stefan Runstrom. Impressively solid on changes with massively dynamic swings, the band rounds out nicely with Rachel crushing it on keyboard and guitarist Steven Beck perfectly accompanying this crew.
It was obvious to anyone present that Rachel & The Kings weren’t simply there to play a show, but to announce of their arrival and provide fair warning that they aren’t about to fade into the background.
I have to say I can’t imagine seeing them in a better setting – dynamic and full, this band absolutely runs the full spectrum of pop-rock. Songs like “Raise Your Dead” and “Underwater” are incredible glimpses into what this band is capable of, and in a live setting, there is unlimited potential for this band to own any stage they set foot on.
Striking a blend of the beautiful, melodic groove and straight-ahead driving rock music, RAT Kings has the capacity to win over fans from across many genres, and have the lyrical and musical fortitude to impress, delight and challenge contemporary radio while shattering expectations.
Rachel made her public guitar-playing debut on the song “Soldier Boy” and prefaced it with a rather endearing and honest statement about how terrifying it is to step out of her comfort zone to do so, but in light of the song’s message about being brave and taking risks she was taking a deep breath and going for it… I have to say – in this honesty, she won over any skeptics left in the crowd. And in showing us her heart, it was my favorite moment of the night. (Note to artists: Let us connect to you!)
When I learned of The King’s roots, with several members coming from Tickle Me Pink to help steer this project, I was very surprised. The styles are a far cry from one another, but both brilliant. To be perfectly honest, Rachel & The Kings have found a very mature core early in their existence. This music isn’t formula, and songs are not cut from the same cloth – they are unique and alive, but flow so well together it’s as though they are different parts of the same body.
A word about the musicianship in this band – it’s incredible. I believe most musicians will find them not only impressive individually, but incredibly well suited to one another. Gorgeous, anthemic and bold, this band is so much more than a group of musicians. They are a talented tribe making the music that can move the masses. If you get the chance, get out and see them… it will be the best choice you make that week.