Live Review: King Charles - The Academy, Sat 21st Feb [Review by Claire McConnell]

Live Review: King Charles - The Academy, Sat 21st Feb 
Review by Claire McConnell

Recognisable by his penchant for flamboyant and theatrical fashion, his ability to pen the perfect pop tune with undeniable nuances of glam, afro- beat, folk hip-hop, rock & roll and country, the new-wave force that is King Charles rolled into Dublin’s Academy last Saturday.

It’s not all whimsy and wonder however. Charles is a masterful and clever lyricist, combining romantic narratives with a resoundingly catchy hook. He won the prestigious International Song writing Competition in Nashville and went on to record his sophomore album LoveBlood as a result. He closed the festival circuit in 2014 and went straight into the studio to record his, as of yet, untitled second album, produced by Marcus Mumford.

Tonight’s show as is this tour, a road test for the new material. Rather bravely, he opened with a new track entitled Carry Me Away which he performed solo. Whilst much more understated in delivery it showcased his soulful and seemingly effortless vocals and allowed for the lyrics to be digested at a less urgent pace.

It’s never easy to maintain the momentum while performing a lot of new songs to unfamiliar ears whom are eager to hear the hits. King Charles recognised this and did a great job at balancing the old with the new. He ripped-roared through his set with favourites such as Bam Bam, Mississippi Isabel and The Brightest Lights getting much appreciated airplay whilst intertwining newbies and not so newbies. Gamble for a Rose is new to the setlist yet he claims to have written it ten years ago and was ‘too afraid to release it’. Loose Change for the Boatman is another track which was written two years ago and has only been played on this tour. Having toured LoveBlood for two years, it’s understandable that he has acquired quite the collection of new songs hungry for the attention and nourishment that the studio brings.

Overall, King Charles delivered on my expectations; I came, I sang, I danced and had a great time as did my gig buddy who was entirely unfamiliar with his music. The new material shows great promise even if upon first listen, it tends lean heavier on the folkier side than the exuberance of LoveBlood.

He closed the encore with a cover of Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al mixed with Lady Percy. When asked what we should expect from the new album, he responded instantly and abruptly with “Bangers”. Whether that is a reference to Superquinns finest or Miley Cyrus, I will leave that to your interpretation. Either way, I’m sure you will be hearing a lot more from King Charles very soon!