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Crash Kings bring energetic rock to The Basement

Crash Kings perform at The Basement with Nico Vega on Aug. 2.

[/media-credit] Crash Kings perform at The Basement with Nico Vega on Aug. 2.

Few times do you get to witness pianists really rocking out, but because of the dynamic of Crash Kings, you get to see just that.

Taking the stage on Friday at The Basement, the Los Angeles basedguitarless rockers opened (late) with “6 Foot Tall” and all theheadbanging, hair flipping and jumping you would expect from a rock band — minus the lead guitar.

Crash Kings weren’t for extraneous talking, either, and didn’t even really introduce themselves until after “You Got Me,” their second song.

The band is on tour supporting their newest album, “Dark of the Daylight,” which was released June 18. Much of the crowd didn’t seem to be familiar with songs off the album other than the singles, perhaps due to its recent release date.

The real crowd favorites were songs off their 2009 self-titled debut, like “It’s Only Wednesday,” “1985” and “14 Arms.”

The group rolled through new material with “Inside Upside Down,” “Hesitate” and “Lonely War,” before going back to their debut again, playing “1985.” Lead singer, Tony Beliveau, lost himself in the song and knocked the mic out of it’s stand, but managed to catch it just in time.

As per usual, someone yelled “play ‘Free Bird’” during a lull, but Crash Kings played “14 Arms” instead.

“Alright, alright, you’re warming up a little,” Beliveau said, but said it could be better. “This was the first venue in Crash Kings history that we ever sold out.”

During “All Along,” the group paused for a few moments, and the crowd began to cheer just as the band launched back into the chorus.

Closing with singles, their second to last song was “Mountain Man,” and you could hear the crowd singing along. Crash King closed their set with “Hot Fire,” the single off the newest album, and left the stage for Nico Vega.

While still a rock band, Nico Vega was a completely different kind of experience. Lead singer Aja Volkman was completely captivating–you just couldn’t stop looking at her. She had the kind of stage presence that only true rock stars have, beating drums across the stage, standing on the railing near the ceiling and dancing barefoot in front of fans.

Volkman was a performer.

At the beginning of the set, she took the stage alone and laid down several layered tracks live of meshing “ohs,” and she used that same technique several times through the show.

There were some slight feedback issues while she sang “Gravity,” but even then Volkman’s stage presence didn’t dwindle. Her hand motions through the songs, her intense passion, it made you want to know more about each song.

Playing “Fury Oh Fury” off their new EP, Volkman’s surprisingly heavy voice resonated through The Basement. While singing “Fe Fi Fo Fum,” Volkman sat on top of a barrel in the middle of the stage while the drummer played it.

Nico Vega closed with “Beast,” one of their more popular tracks. The band extended the ending of the song, giving each player time for a solo, and closed the show with ringing ears and a heavy dose of guitar and drum solos.

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