Crash Kings, Nico Vega Bring Unique Sounds to Cambridge
August 23, 2013
By: Jack Hutchings
Standing out in today’s music industry is not an easy thing. But on Friday night in Cambridge, MA, music fans got to see not one, but two bands whose unique approach to making music set them apart from the rest of the field. Finishing up their co-headlining tour, Crash Kings and Nico Vega rolled into Cambridge’s newest venue, The Sinclair.
The venue opened last December and has been met with nothing but success since. Los Angeles band Nico Vega was on first during Friday’s show and their set was something to behold. The show started unlike anything I’d even seen before, with frontwoman Aja Volkman laying down her own backing vocals with a vocal looping machine.
Volkman made great use of the space around her all night, strutting around the stage and climbing on seemingly anything that would support her. The band's sound can best be described as something along the lines of “Indie Stomp” using 10 gallon oil drums as musical instruments, as well as the traditional guitar, bass, and standard drum kit.
Aja Volkman was the main attraction however, with vocals that contained a powerful soul behind them that could be felt throughout the whole room. Nico Vega brought the house down on the final song of their set, “Beast”, which took on an even heavier rock sound live.
Crash Kings took the stage a little after 11pm, holding the headline slot in their hometown. The band moved to LA years ago, but still consider themselves Bostonians, and judging by the crowd’s reaction to them, so does Boston.
They seem like the typical rock band at first, bass, drums, keyboard, vocals, but where they get their guitar sound is where they differ. Instead of a traditional electric or acoustic guitar, frontman Antonio Beliveau uses a clavinet, an instrument with the design of a keyboard, that sounds like a guitar. It’s run through an amplifier and contains pickups and strings. It even has a vibrato system to mimic the sounds of a what is commonly called a “whammy bar”. Beliveau gets one heck of a sound out of it, a quick search of youtube reveals an interesting video by the band called “the history of guitar, without a guitar” which shows examples of Beliveau playing several guitar classics with his clavinet.
During Friday’s show Crash Kings showcased all original material however. With two full length albums, the band has plenty to work with. Songs like “Mountain Man” “14 Arms” and “Hot Fire” are great alternative rock songs that match very well with the band’s style of music. There are even some ballads like “Non-Believer” and “My Love”. There’s a little something for everybody when it comes to Crash Kings material. Friday’s hometown show got the band a lot of love and they enjoyed it from start to finish. With fans dancing and grooving to the rock and funky sounds, the atmosphere at the Sinclair on Thursday was full of fun. If you’re looking to see something different, and have a lot of fun doing so, make sure to check out Crash Kings.