Gig: To Kill A King At The Hollywood Bardot

Ben Jackson (Left), Dan Smith (Middle), Ralph Pelleymounter (Right)

Ben Jackson (Left), Dan Smith (Middle), Ralph Pelleymounter (Right)

You may have not heard of them yet, but To Kill A King (TKAK) is the next English act slated to make big waves across the Atlantic. The five member ensemble, comprised of lead singer Ralph Pelleymounter, guitarist Grant McNeil, bassist Josh Platman, keyboardist Ben Jackson, and drummer Josh Taffel, has been (rightfully) likened to a Mumford and Sons, The National, and even Simon and Garfunkel with their poetic lyrics and orchestral rock elements. The band recently stopped in Los Angeles to play two shows in between touring with Bastille across North America.

The folk rock band debuted at the Hollywood Bardot on a Monday “School Night,” playing a solid nine song set which featured ‘Cold Skin,’ ‘Rays,’ and ‘Funeral,’ three of the band’s strongest and catchiest tunes. The five piece commanded the audience’s attention throughout the set with their energetic stage presence, even occasionally and politely interacting with the audience between and during songs. During ‘Wolves,’ the enthused audience reciprocated TKAK’s energy as it sang back a lyric at Pelleymounter’s request.

In between songs, you could feel the room tighten up as people moved from the venue’s bars to see where all the cheers were coming from. As a special treat for the crowd, Pelleymounter even invited Bastille’s Dan Smith to sing ‘Choices‘ with the band; the song’s harmonies succeeded in maintaining the audience’s attention and the entire room joyously sang the ooo-oo-ooo’s with the band. Despite being wedged between other acts, To Kill A King refocused the distracted audience (the Blood Moon was happening that night) with their undeniable musicianship and chemistry.

Grant McNeil (Left), Ralph Pelleymounter (Right)

Grant McNeil (Left), Ralph Pelleymounter (Right)

The next night, TKAK performed another solid nine song set at the prestigious Hotel Cafe. Within this intimate show, the band showcased ‘Gasp/Reflex’ and ‘Cannibals With Cutlery,’ two songs that were not on Monday’s set list. While ‘Cannibals With Cutlery’ drew attention to Pelleymounter’s unique, melancholic voice with minimal guitar, ‘Gasp/Reflex’ displayed the group’s finesse as the stop-and-go song altered  between heavy guitar riffs and abrupt pauses (as its name suggests).

Not only does the band compose songs boasting immaculate musicianship and poetic lyrics, but also delivers stellar live performances which prove that this is only the beginning for the British band. Their debut performances transformed already lovely tunes into live gems that all music lovers ought to witness. To Kill A King’s debut LP, Cannibals With Cutlery, is now available in the United States and abroad.

– J

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