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Guitar God:

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Kaki King
Saturday, Nov. 5th • 6:30 p.m.
Soapbox Laundro-Lounge
249 N. Front St.
$12 advance • $15 day of

ACCOMPLISHED ARTIST: Kaki King offers listeners a unique guitar performance, and that paired with her ethereal singing is what has earned her international fame. Courtesy photo.

The stage of soapbox laundro-Lounge has yet to host a true “Guitar God,” despite the dreams of all guitarists who have graced the concert venue to date. However, on Saturday, November 5th, Soapbox will open its doors to internationally renowned Kaki King, named one of Rolling Stone’s “New Guitar Gods” in 2006.

King was the only woman on the list—and the youngest. Her claims to fame include composing a piece for Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild” with Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook, earning the trio a nomination for Best Original Score from the Golden Globe Awards. She’s hung out with Coco himself on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” created the musical backdrop for the world’s most famous vampires in the “Twilight” series films, and worked with rap artist and producer Timbaland.

An artist with not only a good ear but also a good eye, she held a one-night exhibition at The Littlefield performance and art space in Brooklyn, New York, which showcased 15 uniquely decorated guitars created by 12 commissioned artists. The pieces were inspired by titles from King’s songs—such as the one King herself created during the exhibit. She covered her guitar in pink fingerprints after dousing her hands in paint and performing her song, “Playing with Pink Noise.”

King is known for the percussive beats she makes while playing guitar. Reminiscent of flamenco, she lightly hits her fingers upon the soundboard, and intricately taps the fret while simultaneously plucking at her strings, creating a sound all her own.

However, her musicianship in general is something with which to be reckoned. She began her career at the age of 5 when her father first introduced her to the guitar and a stack of Beatles songbooks. Although more focused on playing the drums in high school, she returned to the guitar as a student at New York University. From there, King’s learned to play piano, harp guitar, dojo, a blend of the guitar and koto which she made herself, among other rare, worldly stringed instruments.

Of course within her five albums King performs solely instrumental pieces—but her voice is notably haunting. When she does sing, it is wispy and light, an accompaniment to her powerful and provocative guitar work.

She cites shoegaze—a type of alternative rock in the UK during the late ‘80s, which is characterized by ethereal singing—as a strong vocal influence. Naturally, King turned to this style as she began incorporating original lyrics within her compositions.

The songstress’ words range from themes of melancholic unrequited love to enthusiastic dance-able pop tunes—or pieces that commemorate The Cure like “Spit it Back in My Mouth.” Like The Cure, it features effervescent rock with surprisingly saddening lyrics such as, “I’m sorry that this time I was gone / I’m not the friend that you should lean on / I lost my mind for a while in the snow / But I’m the last one in the world to know.”

Guests at the Soapbox for King’s performance this weekend can expect to hear a guitar god, no doubt. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. show, and tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets are available at or at the venue.

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