Kingsley Flood @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 11/19/16

If there’s one thing the band Kingsley Flood knows about, it’s change.

In 2012, their album Battles took them back and forth across the country and all the way to the mainstage at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. It was an album that dealt with the everyday struggles of an “everyday guy”, and the songs reflected front-man Naseem Khuri’s struggle with issues of equality, a running theme in most of the band’s work.

Since then, the band has been busy creating their latest polemic for a better world, Another Other, and in the process were forced to redefine themselves and in some ways their message and method of speaking truth to power. Singer/violin player Jenée Morgan Force left the band in 2013 to start a family and her replacement, Eva Walsh (both of whom can be heard all over the new record) decided that the touring life wasn’t for her and exited the band amicably just as Another Other was about to be released. In many ways, the effect the departures had on the new batch of songs are obvious, but the inward focus, something not really seen before in "Khuri’s storytelling, was something new.

Kingsley Flood frontman Nassem Khuri leaving it all on the stage at the Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, DC - 11/19/16 (photo by Mauricio Castro/ @TheMauricio )

Kingsley Flood frontman Nassem Khuri leaving it all on the stage at the Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, DC - 11/19/16 (photo by Mauricio Castro/@TheMauricio)

On tracks like “Try” and “Thick Of It” the band deftly handled the more introspective side of the Khuri’s songwriting, but showed that they still stoked the righteous fire they are known for on“The Bridge”, “Another Other”, and an absolutely snarling take on “To The Wolves”, all off of their latest album. New songs found a home alongside old favorites like a newly invigorated “Strongman”  and fellow Battles track “Waiting For The River To Rise” (a touching tribute to a fallen friend…may it never leave their set), and proved that Kingsley Flood isn’t just surviving, they’re still thriving and even evolving after almost 10 years as a band

Opening the show for Kingsley Flood, were two of DC’s brightest upcoming stars; Fellow Creatures and Louis Weeks. Weeks kicked things off with a set made up entirely of songs from his upcoming LP due out sometime in 2017. Earlier this year, he did the same with a set at DC9 opening for Ryley Walker, and for those familiar with his work, NOW is the time to go out and see what’s coming next. These new songs, performed live by just Weeks and guitarist Noah Behrman, will continue to evolve, but hearing gorgeous tracks like “"In The Middle Only Love" (tentative title) develop from show to show is going to be quite the ride.

Likewise, Fellow Creatures, whose core of Sam McCormally and Will McKindley-Ward (the lineup is rounded out by Rishi Chakrabarty on bass and David Greer on drums) released a stunning self-titled LP earlier this year, have developed from an experiment played out live in front of an audience to a fierce band with even fiercer commentary on our current state of affairs. Songs like “Wouldn’t You Like To Know” and “Silurian Stomp” have taken on a renewed urgency and aggression in the face of the most recent election, but it was McCormally’s savage delivery of “Try Not To Think About It” that provided one of the chill inducing highlights of the night.

Photos by Mauricio Castro
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