Kaki King lived up to all expectations. The pint-sized songstress and her band led the audience through a live set Wednesday night that was as flawless as their recordings. Live versions of King's latest hits "Pull Me Out Alive" and "2 O’clock" rang as beautifully through the PAs at Club Deville as they do through my iPod headphones, and the instrumental numbers followed suit.
And she’s pretty funny. King's quips between songs gave personality to the timid demeanor her voice suggests. "We just recorded a video for 'Pull Me Out Alive'" she told the audience, "It's on You Tube." She talked about how excited she was until she checked out the video and saw that a bunch of Hungarians left comments regarding her name: "Do you know Kaki means shit in Hungarian? So, yeah, I won't be coming to your country anytime soon, Hungary." You can check out the remaining shows of the self-proclaimed "shit king" here. I promise it's just a clever name.
My first impression of Daryl Hall during his set at the Austin Convention Center was that he was doing OK on his own. But after a couple of tunes went by I realized, that, like a horse, he needed his Oates. The '80s heartthrob still posses all the charm he did 20-odd years ago, but his voice is fading and his latest work has nothing on "Maneater" or "You Make My Dreams" (which he played). In other words, I can't go for that (and by "that" I mean his new stuff.
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The Noisettes were the unexpected surprise of the evening. Lunchbox and I arrived at Saul Williams a little early and man, I'm glad we did. This London rock trio will blow fans of The Gossip away. (And that's coming from someone who jams "Standing in the Way of Control" on a regular basis.) It's not soul-infused punk it's punk-infused soul. Lead singer Shingai Shoniwa is like Erika Badu if she was abandoned at CBGBs in the '70s and left to be raised by punk rock wolves. The band only plays one more show and it's today at 2 p.m. at the DirectTV studios at the Austin Convention Center.
The Noisettes left a lot of work for Saul Williams and he matched their intensity immediately by taking the stage with warrior face-paint and red and yellow feathers in his hair. He was ready to battle the audience with his set list and they surrendered with dance and cheers as Williams and The Noisettes took home the energy award for the evening.