King Elementary

One Eyed Jack's

December 14, 2004

BY MARTY GARNER


Can you imagine having a major label contract at age eighteen? Meet King Elementary. The Capitol Recording artists neutralized any distraction their age caused when they opened for Fu Manchu Tuesday night at One Eyed Jack's. They delivered a constantly pulsating, swelling blend of power-pop and punk rock with vicious melodies and intricate guitar leads. The Shins meets Fu Manchu? Of Montreal mixed with Queens of the Stone Age? King Elementary took a bit from column A and a bit from column B, and they emerged with a mesmerizing sound. I still refuse to believe they were as young as they were.

King Elementary played a label showcase at Los Angeles' famed Viper Room two years ago. When they were sixteen. The club owners made them stand outside between sets. Normally, I would laugh these guys off and make comparisons to Hanson and Silverchair, but, unlike those bands, they were unbelievable. Lead singer Morgan Jones roared with the fury of Kurt Cobain over guitars that were thick as a Dairy Queen Blizzard. He was everything that Vines lead singer Craig Nicholls wants to be but never will be. Lead guitarist Jeremy Upton dotted the musical landscape with quick flourishes of classic patterns. Their heavy (but not too heavy) and melodic sound made them a perfect opener for Fu Manchu. The group had the stage presence of a band about to fly off the handle, but they kept their music nicely roped in tight. The only excpetion was Upton, who didn't move more than three feet all evening. And that was to get off the stage after the set.

Even during the greatest opening bands, I find myself thinking, "This is nice, but it's time for _______." King Elementary became the show. When One Eyed Jack's stage manager ended the set early, sending the group off of the stage looking like they had just emerged from a coma, I realized I forgot that Fu Manchu was even playing next. King Elementary had that certain something that other small-time bands like Macrosick have. You can sense that they're a keg of dynamite just waiting for a spark. Hopefully, they found their spark at Capitol.


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