I had heard good things about Chasing Kings but never got the chance to see them before, but since they were one of the bands opening for Saint Motel at the El Rey theater on Saturday night, I can say they didn't disappoint anyone. With their strong sense of melodies and bright two-voice harmonies, their set was a breath of fresh air. In particular, the distinct voice of the singer, Matt Schwartz, was piercing the music,… if there was something really distinguishable about their songs beside the hooks and the harmonies, it was definitively his peculiar voice, soulful and commending the tunes as rarely lead singers do.
Their sweet harmonies could sometimes remind some acts like Fleet Foxes or Mumford and Sons, or even early Coldplay, but they didn’t have only gentle ballads, some numbers were rather explosive and moody. What was also remarkable was the instantaneous catchiness of some songs as they triggered a warm response from the Saint Motel public. There were a few spine-tickling soaring choruses, a few stormy and passionate moments, some almost-a-capella harmonies, and even a few foot-tapping songs. With so much in store, what not to like?
Matt Schwartz switched to keyboard for a few songs, and the mood changed to more bouncy rhythms, may be more in the vein of Wilco-Ben Folds, but there was no real adjective that could summarize their music: it was dark or melancholic, fluid and original, sometimes soothing or even more upbeat,… they interrupted their set before the song ‘Nice Guy’, to say we could download the song for free on their website, and of course everybody in the audience looked immediately at their smart phones. The song is actually the title track of their upcoming album, which should be released in October. If it is as diverse, complex and sophisticated than their set at the El Rey, it is very promising.