New Years 2011: King Pigeon 12.31.10
Words, Photos & Video By J-man
King Pigeon Live at Quixote's True Blue on December 31, 2010. <--- Direct Archive Link
Steve Molitz, Michael Kang, Pete Wall, Cristian Basso, Christian Teele... Technically, I could end the review there and you would know that it was a fucking awesome show. However, I will not. For those of you who couldn't be in Denver on New Years eve, this is an account of one of the most enjoyable shows of the year for me... King Pigeon.
We arrived at Quixote's on a chilly Denver New Years Eve night. The venue was just about empty except for a few folks sitting at the bar and a the Dirty Byrds setting up for their set in the main room. We purchased some drinks and headed into the back room where we were greeted by Pete Wall and found King Pigeon sound checking/practicing. We sat down and I readied my gear, smoked and drank while the band sorted through some of the material for the early evening's show.
At one point I heard someone mention "Launchpad". I perked up and turned towards the stage. As they began to discuss the breakdown. I have to say, I am a sucker for old Particle tunes. The possibility of a band such as King Pigeon covering Particle excited me, as if I wasn't already excited enough.
I looked to the back of the room and noticed a taper. A gentleman who would later become known to me as "Deadhead Corey". I was thrilled to find out that the show was being recorded! I knew it was going to be a great show.
The set kicked off right on par with what I had anticipated. The freeform flow of the music, backed by the rotating solos created an interesting soundscape. Steve was tearing apart the keys with funky face-melting precision. His ability to deliver exactly what the jam needs is uncanny. I was entertained by watching people's faces imitate Steve's as they felt the music, including his band mates.
Immediately next to Steve was saxophonist Pete Wall. Pete's ability to slide into any musical environment with ease and absolutely destroy is impressive. Pete's style was aggressive and very forward as he gave and received cues, never missing a beat. It was thrilling to watch this collection of great musicians staring at Pete in disbelief as he took over.
On the drums was Christian Teele. His rhythm within the bounds of this improvised genre was fitting. It was tight when it needed to be and fluid when the music called for it. The chemistry between Christian Teele and Cristian Basso was excellent. Together they kept the jam moving and direction focused. Cristian Basso's bass playing was intense and his low end funky riffs had Quixote's groovin'. Prior to the show I was not familiar with Teele or Basso, I am now...
Lastly, electric mandolin player Michael Kang. Kang's modal scaling structure fits well into elevating most projects and King Pigeon was no different. There were times, when Micheal seemed reserved, then minutes later he would find the pocket and began shredding. He also brought a bit of the unique String Cheese sound as well as a couple of SCI tunes to the repertoire.
One of the most enjoyable moments of the evening came with a version of Particle's "Launchpad". It was apparent from the first airy keyboard notes and the driving drum beat. It was time to fucking get down. King Pigeon easily surpassed any version of "Launchpad" that I have ever heard from Particle.
Together, King Pigeon is one of the most enjoyable "super-groups" that I have ever witnessed. The combination of extensive jams and musical interactions was fascinating. Add great friends and a stellar/compassionate venue like Quixote's and you have a great night of music.
J-man's complete photo gallery from the show