Concert Review: Crash Kings at The Middleast in Cambridge, MA
Crash Kings Rating:
December 13, 2009
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
Meet brothers Tony Beliveau and Mike Beliveau who, along with drummer Jason Morris, are the Crash Kings. The brothers hail from Andover, MA, and moved to LA later, presumably for the music scene there. The Crash Kings played at the Middle East on a Sunday night, successfully overcoming the hump that is a Sunday night show and amping up the crowd admirably.
Opening for Rooney, along with Michigander band (hurrah!) Tally Hall, the Crash Kings wowed the audience with crazy energetic guitar-heavy rock, only…without a guitar. How’s this, then? Tony plays an instrument called a clavinet. No need for me to even pretend here, I’ve never heard of this instrument before. Basically, it’s a keyboard with guitar strings so it sounds like a clear electric guitar—combine this with a cool (and apparently custom-made) metal arm that hangs over the keyboard that allows for the sound of bending guitar notes…kind of sounds like a guitar slide that you’d hear in old school Van Halen) and you get a really cool, original sound. Normally when I hear a band for the first time, I find myself comparing them to a band I’m more familiar with…with Crash Kings, I came up entirely blank. I had nothing. There’s no one really to compare them to, which is a damn good compliment.
During the show, there were times when I felt like I was in an arena rock show circa 1988 and others when I was sitting in an open space in a field somewhere reading Walt Whitman poems. It’s a weird mix, but somehow it totally works. If you need proof, aside from the opinion of your favorite (heh) music reviewer, trust the voice of the alternative radio scene…Crash King’s single “Mountain Man” is tearing up the charts. You can hear the single on their myspace page. Not only are they exploding on alternative radio, the Crash Kings are featured in the Woody Harrelson movie “Zombieland.” If you want to have a listen to that song, you can listen to it on their myspace as well, it’s called “It’s Only Wednesday.”
How do the Crash Kings blend in with the other bands on the tour? Kind of oddly, really. They open the show with a hard edge and have to woo the Rooney fans who seemed to be mostly on the younger side (17–20ish?) and who swoon over cute lyrics and the adorable boy with the shaggy hair that was in “Princess Diaries,” let’s just tell it like it is. I’ll have my say on Rooney, too, just stay tuned for that review! Tally Hall has some really clever lyrics and kitschy beats, and they don’t really fit in with either band either. I found myself pleasantly surprised that the three bands worked so well together. The energy held on throughout the whole show…again, I mention that this was a cold, rainy, Sunday night in New England and people are of the “don’t-want-to-leave-my-warm-apartment” caliber here, so engaging a crowd in any way, much less making them jump up and down and shake their weary, numb-from-the-cold hips, is quite a feat.
To sum up, if the Crash Kings aren’t coming to your city during the remainder of their current tour, you at least need to download their debut album immediately and brace yourself for a rock party in your ears.
For more info on Crash Kings visit them:
Or catch them live as they wrap up December: