In 2010, David Wax Museum took the Newport Folk Festival by storm, and it's been nothing but up, up, up ever since. With thrilling records like 2012's Knock Knock Get Up and an even more thrilling live show the ever evolving band has continued to win over fans both new and old wherever they go. When the band stopped at the 9:30 Club last week, front-man David Wax sat down with us...
All photos by Joy Asico (firstname.lastname@example.org | www.asicophoto.com)
The slot of the opening band can be a weird space to occupy. Sometimes it’s filled by the headliner’s label mates, sometimes it’s their friends and sometimes, and perhaps more cynically, it’s a package put together by a PR firm to maximize ticket sales. However the pairing happens, the end result is usually a show that opens with a satisfying but obviously “greener” act that you may catch if you get there early enough, but one that fulfills their duty of warming up the crowd in fine fashion, albeit little consequence. In the case of David Wax Museum’s latest stop through DC though it was clear that somewhere, someone gets it, because the pairing of the mexi-folk outfit from Rhode Island with up-and-comers Kingsley Flood proved to be a winning combo that played more like a high octane double bill than the average tour package that many have come to expect.
Kingsley Flood took the stage to a half empty room and proceeded to take no prisoners – which is what they just seem to do these days. The DC / Boston based band – lead singer Naseem Khuri resides in the District (watch our interview with him here) while the rest remain up north – has been rising through the ranks of the music world over the past few years, and their live shows in support of their latest release Battles is a huge reason why. On record and on stage the band has a bigger-than-life rock star personality that leaves the audience feeling like they just witnessed a stadium-worthy show instead of a barely-out-of-the-bar-band from Beantown, and last Thursday’s performance was no exception. Much like headliners David Wax Museum, Kingsley Flood takes musical inspiration from a wide variety of influences – folk, punk, gypsy, even British Mod – to craft music that is helping to shape a new Americana, one that’s about a whole lot more than an acoustic strum and a torch song.
In which the gang takes a trip to late night radio, pants become an optional accessory and the winner of the Bob Dylan growl-alike contest is finally announced. PLUS!!! Discussion of new music from David Byrne and St. Vincent, The XX, David Wax Museum and some guy that goes by the name of Zimmerman.
Episode 15: No Pantses Required"
While 2011’s Everything Is Saved was an enjoyable enough record, it tended to play it safe. The lead single from that album, “Boy With A Broken Heart,” while as effusive a pop song as you were likely to find that year, did little to distinguish itself from some of the other fare that was been offered up, and swallowed up, by the masses (see Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, etc..). That’s not to say the Saved was a bad or even insignificant record. It’s blending of traditional folk with the sounds of rural Mexico that front man David Wax has spent much of his life studying was a refreshing alternative to some of the less ambitious efforts of the groups peers, but on the whole it was exactly the kind of record that you would expect a band like David Wax Museum to make.
Perhaps the biggest surprise then on Knock Knock Get Up is that not only is it a huge leap forward for David Wax and crew, but there are moments scattered about its ten tracks that suggest this is a band that has totally reinvented itself. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what they’ve done right here – besides everything – but throwing out terms like “mature,” “confident” and “realized potential” are a pretty good start.