Live Review: To Kill a King at Brighton Prince Albert – 4th March 2012

By on Thursday, 8th March 2012 at 2:00 pm

Words by Natalie Stas

As they dove into the first song, there was a real element of surprise from everyone who had come to watch. From not knowing much about To Kill a King other than assuming that their profile aligns them to the indie folk of Mumford and Sons or Dry the River, you’d imagine their lead track to be a showcase of the full band, something of a crowd-pleaser. But the reality was quite the opposite. The five huddled to the front of the stage around Ralph Pellymounter, lead guitarist and vocalist, all to face their audience with nothing other than one acoustic guitar. The intro was a harmony of stripped back vocals only interrupted by occasional acoustic chords or the tapping of their hi-top trainers. It was as intimate as watching five of your mates in your local pub, except it was delivered with the sheer professionalism, talent and lyrical aptitude of every great indie headline act of recent years.

From that moment, no one in the room could deny that we were all captivated by Pellymounter’s vocals, particularly the stark moments when the band held their breath and let his vocal soar over silence to steal the show. But the Northern lads are not just another bunch of boys with buttoned-up shirts and some solemn memoirs. The truth is I’ve not heard lyrics like this from a band with such fresh faces in a long time. There were times when Ralph’s voice in ‘Wrecking Crew’ (watch a live version of this song below) became reminiscent of biting intensity of Editors‘ Tom Smith, and on occasion, mirrored the depth and heartfelt tension of Finn Andrews.


Each of the five had their unique mannerisms which combined, defines their stage presence, but I couldn’t help but notice that there was more than one frontman on that stage. It was the keyboardist, Ben Jackson, who captured everyone’s imagination in Brighton. His seemingly restless nature was captivating, perhaps only amplified by the static nature of his instrument. I could feel the band’s excitement through watching him. There were moments where you’d find him rustling an old Lucozade bottle filled with matchsticks as percussion or clasping his hands over his face in sheer anticipation for the rising guitar rifts. I could sense it was nearing the end of their tour: not only because the band were flawless, or because their melodies seemed to be part of who they were now, but because on the odd occasion I’d catch the keyboardist smiling to himself, looking at his band, and then to the crowd, in awe of their achievement. And so he should.

The set itself could have filled a room and captured an audience five times that of the the Brighton attic. The melodies were quaint and the band, humble in their modesty – but the sentiment of the songs were anthemic and meant for stadiums. Perhaps that was what made it so charming, I felt like I had witnessed the beginning of something very special on that windy night in the seaside town. So much so, that I have refused to listen to anything else but their EP since. I hate to say it, but I do so without any agenda: bring on the album.

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One Response

4:18 pm
8th March 2012

Great review!

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