Live Review – Killinger – Rams Head Live (Baltimore) – July 19th (support to Volbeat)

Scoring a support slot on tour with one of the hottest metal bands of the moment, namely Volbeat, is a trick that any up and coming band would do almost anything to make happen. Sold out shows all over the country, concert halls full of anticipation and potential fans to reach with your music – what an opportunity! The band in question is a relatively new hard rock band called Killinger from Canada. This is likely a name that is unknown to the majority reading this, but, for those ‘in-the-know’ and in particular everyone that was inside Rams Head Live on July 19th around 6.30PM, they are a band rapidly rising up the ranks of the rock scene. They recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Edmonton Music Awards so it is clear they have a good fan base from which to build on.

Killinger are a 4-piece band that draw from the sleaze and groove from all that was good from the 80’s rock scene, minus the spandex and big hair, but with a shot of adrenaline from all the years since then.  To be honest I can’t give you a “sounds like” comparison, because there just isn’t one that makes sense to me; I think the best I can say is Killinger are what you would get if you took all your favorite bands from the 80’s (perhaps excluding some of the thrash bands…), threw them in a blender and hit the smoothie button, and then let all the good stuff rise to the top. What I can tell you is they have a classic line up of vocals, guitar, bass and drums.

I have always believed that the core of any great band is the vocalist, and Killinger will not let you down in this department. Dave Williams is exactly what you need up front and center, with an eyelinered, flamboyant character, leading the band, but, with an added bonus; yes, he can sing. And what a voice! I’ve had the Killinger CD since late last year, so I know their material really well, but live, Dave really delivers, and in my opinion vocally he was better live than on the CD. What I felt was a passion and slight aggression that the studio managed to smooth out. In my book this is really good thing. Rock is all about the live show, so if you can be better on stage than on record, you get my vote.

The rest of the band doesn’t disappoint. On guitar Doc K-Mo is a master, wielding a vicious Dean guitar (fitted with my personal favorite guitar trem system from Kahler…) and he delivers a precision melodic drive to each track with blistering solos, while Justin Craig on bass provides a monstrous push that you can feel in your whole body. I rarely pay much attention to the bass, but at this show it was definitely the motor that got my feet tapping and head nodding. On drums we have a bit of a monster! Chris Challice is the center of all time once the band kicks into action, and I can only compliment his drum kit, complete with in-built lighting effects! A nice touch that caught the eye and drew everyone to pay attention! More info on the band can be found here: http://killingerrocks.com/

Now Killinger were working with the minimum amount of stage space, so it would be hard to judge what we might have gotten otherwise, but effectively we had Dave and Justin on the left, with Chris’ drum kit just fitting on the stage, but effectively isolating Doc K-Mo to the right of the stage. Whatever the limitations Killinger made it work as best they could.

Opening the evening is never the easiest task, but once Chris was situated behind his drum kit and the opening refrain from “Never Change” blasted out of the PA the ride was off and rolling. As mentioned, Dave was in great voice and Doc was bringing it from the opening riff, harmonics and hammer-ons spitting from the fret-board without restraint. The rhythm machine that is Justin and Chris immediately kicked into gear, and what we got was 100% Killinger, no holds barred. While most of the audience were clearly new to them, it was clear that the great majority were entertained and rocked. Unfortunately time was short, and we only got five tracks: Never Change, We Are Here, I Don’t Care, The Gun, and King Of The Kill. These are all taken from the debut CD which you can find here: http://www.amazon.com/Killinger/dp/B003UV4X0O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343270416&sr=8-1&keywords=killinger

The CD is a nice piece of work, made all the better with the addition of Rick Plester handling production duties. Not only is Rick a wicked producer, but he is also a monster on guitar (I last saw him handling lead guitar duties on tour with Blaze Bayley and that was an amazing show indeed!) and he delivers a couple of guest appearance solos on the CD. I believe that Doc K-Mo and Rick are good friends, so this undoubtedly led to a great working relationship. More about Rick here: http://www.rickplester.com/

So, to close, Killinger really delivered the goods and fired everyone up for what was to come later (and Volbeat had that place rockin’ from top to bottom). I thoroughly recommend checking out their CD, and if you get the chance to see them live, definitely go see them – you will not be disappointed, of that I am sure. My score for their performance: 9/10

Dave Williams – Vocals

Doc K-Mo giving it some!

Chris and his eye-catching light-up drum kit

Dave (arm waving extraordinaire) and Justin (bass)

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