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Tuesday January 23rd 2018

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King Hell Live at Gramercy Theater

King Hell Rhythm and BruiseKING HELL @ GRAMERCY THEATRE, 1/25/10

Reviewer: Z.K. Dundon

Monday night symbolizes the drab beginning to a long week of professional tedium to all but the most devious of souls– indeed, a sizable crowd of true-to-blood fiends turned up at Gramercy Theatre to see King Hell conjure up another live ritual. King Hell have gained local notoriety for their inimitable brand of satanic Vaudeville: the band members all assume their own zany comic-book alter egos with stage props to match, and bash out a style of rock which is equal parts vintage funk, blues, and 80’s stadium metal. You may have doubts that any band can manage to combine such seemingly disparate influences into a single grooving force, but it all makes sense once you get blasted with a song like “Shotgun”, which was the all-appropriate opener for the setlist. From that moment on, King Hell had the whole audience possessed to bang their heads, shake booty, and throw some goat horns. KingHellLive1
King Hell’s winning formula of “rhythm-and-bruise” is topped off with some diabolically humorous showmanship, courtesy of the band’s two vocalists, Samwell and Doc Thompson. The bald-headed and tattooed Samwell–presumably the band’s unofficial leader–was definitely the more animated of the pair: throughout the show, he would leap atop his signature horned anvil to belt out those impossibly high notes, and he was not shy about jumping off stage to run amok in the audience’s pit. He also changed into a pajama-like devil’s outfit in the middle of the set, complete with a plastic pitchfork; by the end of the show he was shirtless and had painted a garish exclamation point on his belly. On the other hand, the Doc was content to do what he does best: deliver his wildly irreverent lyrics in a bluesy baritone (get a load of this sample verse: “Earth is dull and Heaven’s gay / Get on down and burn that ass in flames!”), whilst skanking around the stage in a zoot suit. During a bizarre intermission, though, Doc Thompson whipped out a canister and started spraying bassist Zigabot’s prominent afro as Samwell squealed out a pitch-perfect rendition of the “Soul-glo” hairspray jingle. The joke was lost on the young whipper-snappers who weren’t familiar with the movie “Coming to America”, but needless to say the rest of the audience was in stitches.
KingHellLive2If there were any weaknesses in the band’s assault that night, it could be said that they came on with a bit too much energy– Samwell’s hellish histrionics, while impressive, actually got him into some trouble when he tripped over guitarist Motherfucker’s input cord (yes, that really is the guitarist’s name; if you regularly don leather bracers, Nazi boots, and a swinging meathook around your belt, only the name “Motherfucker” can suffice for your christendom). It amounted to just a brief lurch in the overall adrenaline rush, though. The bottom line here is: if you long for the days KingHellLive3when rockers used to be over-the-top showmen– you know, before it became about hating your parents and crying– but you also demand funky chops and metallic distortion, King Hell’s got it all in spades. A live act that should not be missed!

King Hell- ‘A Bastard Like Me’ – Live at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC

Band Website: King Hell Metal


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4 Responses to “King Hell Live at Gramercy Theater”

  1. misty says:

    I was one of the girls there that night and we love King Hell because they raise the Hell and bring out the horn in the guys. wink wink – Misty

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