LIVE REVIEW: King Nun at Kentish Town Forum

King Nun

Having just released their debut LP, Mass, King Nun took to the road. XS Noize found Mass an impressive debut. King Nun would now be tested on how well this material would stand up live. Live music at the Forum opened with Kyle Falconer (The View) alongside a full live band. Falconer evenly played out his The View hits as well as solo songs including “Family Tree”, “Avalanche” and “Kelly”. The View’s most acclaimed hit, “Same Jeans”, whether it was due to the extra-special treatment Falconer gave this song, or that this is the biggest selling and most well-known song to his name; the audience was craving for vintage, unaltered denim.

Whilst King Nun is increasingly receiving positive media attention partly due to a critically acclaimed debut LP; they have not let this get to their heads. King Nun performed their soundcheck by themselves in perfect, modern, DIY style. Frontman Theo Polyzoides got the audience to help him test the vocals, getting the Forum to respond as he charismatically chanted, “one, two, one two”. The audience responded just as charismatically back. An unbreakable bond was cemented between the band and the audience.

The youthfulness of this band is widely commented upon. The quartet looks just as young in person as they do in their photo and video shoots. Suddenly, a mass of merciless, black void filled the stage and the audience responded with muteness. Subtle, soft, and understated chilled psychedelic music began to play. Full lights then suddenly appeared and King Nun is on stage opening with “Transformer” from Mass. From the outset, King Nun found the right formula to combine the sound tuning of their debut LP, whilst oozing a limitless supply of passionate, raw, energy of a band seeking to not just entertain an audience; but to mesmerise them too.

The abundance of adolescent energy was further demonstrated by the four-piece, by not pausing and kicking straight into “Chinese Medicine”, the second track off Mass. Theo Polyzoides diction and vocal potency did not fail him. The lyrics “Keep us beautiful, happy, and alive. Keep my head-on. Thank God, thank love. Thank Chinese medicine for that” was clear and potentially more profound live.

Following “Chinese Medicine”, King Nun plugged material from their early EP’s. The solid punk energy of four young men working together willing to do anything to find a sound that defines them collectively, and thereby allowing them to resonate with an audience and incite riotous, but good natured elation could be felt. King Nun took every opportunity to connect with fans on a personal level; they even got the Forum to join in and sing an acapella version of “Happy Birthday” for a fan called Jack.

Following “Happy Birthday”, King Nun returned to playing songs off Mass, “Low Flying Dandelion” was the first. The elation and moshing became pleasantly more intense. Polyzoides revealed himself, including his bare chest before playing “Black Tree” and complimenting the “foxy” audience, whose levels of excitement continued to soar following this statement. “Mascara”, Mass album opener, followed, which saw Theo apply red lipstick in Joker fashion which descended onto his chest. Whether it was the makeup or the way Theo projected the lyrics: “Look me in the eyes, my mascara runs. “I wipe it off my face, but I’m still bleeding blood… I’m waking up in makeup. And I can’t remember if I put it on”; “Mascara” is likely to become a King Nun live staple.

Much of Mass was played at the Kentish Town Forum. Homage was paid to King Nun’s earlier material. In a battle between old and new material; the new material on Mass won. It is highly likely that the material from Mass will increasingly dominate King Nun’s live setlists.

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