The King Attempts to Rule in a Camden Castle, um, pub, ahem!
"What kind of music is this?" the girl next to my mate asked about halfway through this set from King With No Throne.
"Vaguely prog indie rock," was the best we could come up with to her not unreasonable question.
King With No Throne are an Australian/Swiss duo that creates a noise more likely to be made by a band four or five members strong. Even though drums and keyboards were the only instruments involved on this live occasion, this was no synth electronica type racket. Some might argue there's something a little fake about creating the sounds of a full on rock band, guitars, keyboards, occasional strings, the lot with one piece of kit, but if the noise is pleasing to the ear than bring it on!
To throw in a few sound comparisons by way of pointers, when they rock they've a U2 or Arcade Fire-like authority, in fact, at one point there's a drum intro that's not unlike 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'. With most songs drifting well past the five minute mark, and the strength being more in the meandering instrumental parts rather than any easy to remember catchy chorus hook, it's unsurprising that people have waved the name Pink Floyd in their general direction.
First meeting in a Sydney back packer hostel in 2001, they began playing as a pair, growing the band in size, changing the name several times and building a reputation for themselves on the underground music circuit in that Australian city. Coming full circle to be back as a double act, and via a well-received gig in Switzerland, King With No Throne have found themselves in London, hoping to make a name for themselves in the UK.
The Dublin Castle wasn't what you'd call busy, but King With No Throne got a good reaction from their small audience on this Sunday night. Vocalist Reto Wittwer (he's the one from Switzerland) interacted well with the crowd, although you couldn't help but wonder if those shouting out were mates of the band. Sadly for him though his attempts at joke cracking gained a mixed response, Swiss humour doesn't seem to be the comedy style of choice for everyone in this corner of Camden.
The advantage of the venue being less than packed was that you could sit on a couch and be drawn into what the band were playing. It wasn't an experience entirely dissimilar to when I reviewed Sigur Ros last year, unlike rock or dance shows where it's easy to get swept up by the energy of the band you're watching.
This set ran for approximately forty minutes, and although it was possible to get lost in the music, on leaving the venue it was hard to remember any tunes they'd played. Whereas that in itself isn't a bad thing, it does make King With No Throne likely to be viewed as an acquired taste by some people.
There are so many bands playing around London on a nightly basis, making a name for yourself is as much down to luck as judgment, skill, ability and desire. This band are without a record deal, but there's no reason why what they played topping the bill on this Sunday night at the Dublin Castle couldn't capture the imagination of those of a more leftfield rock persuasion. To hear them for yourself check out their