Jaxx owner Jay Nedry recently recalled a concert that King's X played at the nightclub just over five years ago. Shortly before showtime, a thunderstorm knocked out the power at the West Springfield venue, and utility workers were scrambling to get the lights back on.
Nedry said that on most other nights and with most other crowds, he would have closed the club and sent everyone home. But with fans of the Houston-based power trio bellying up to the bar, "We lit candles and sang 'Kum Ba Yah' " until the power was restored and the rock could roll, Nedry said, laughing at the memory.
Nedry's faith that King's X fans wouldn't riot, rob him blind or otherwise cause mayhem in the dark club wouldn't surprise anyone who knows the band and its history. The group was founded by three musicians who shared a deep faith -- though it was never an overtly Christian band -- and a desire to create positively charged hard rock that was equal parts soul, groove and lush melody.
Fans of the band, Nedry said, are as reliably respectful and as passionate about the music as the band itself is. King's X members are scrupulous professionals who have long been praised by critics and count among their fans members of Anthrax, Deep Purple, Fishbone, Living Color and Pearl Jam. That they haven't become one of the biggest acts in rock is surprising to many who have followed them since their first record came out in 1988.
In 2001, VH1 named King's X one of the 100 greatest hard rock bands of all time. Acclaimed producer Nile Rogers said in an interview on the cable channel, "King's X is ridiculous. Unbelievable musicianship, which is, to me, the heart of a great band."
The band's idiosyncratic sound is so hard to pin down that only a comparison to disparate artists approaches an accurate description: If the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Sly Stone had written and recorded together, the result might have sounded like King's X.
The group -- bassist and vocalist Doug Pinnick, guitarist and singer Ty Tabor and drummer and singer Jerry Gaskill -- released its 11th studio album, "Ogre Tones," in September to positive reviews that cited a return to a harder-edged sound after a series of more experimental releases since the late 1990s.
The Lizards are scheduled to open for King's X. The New York City band features drummer Bobby Rondinelli, formerly of Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and Rainbow, and Mike DiMeo, formerly of Riot. A slate of local bands, including Navel, Occams Razor, Shedding Skin and Guardians of Iridescence, are also on the bill.
-- C. WOODROW IRVIN
Nedry, who reports that Jaxx has experienced an unprecedented number of sellouts in recent months, has a birthday today. He'll be celebrating at the club tomorrow night. Jaxx is at 6355 Rolling Rd. Tickets are $20 and available via Ticketmaster at 202-432-7328. More information is at www.jaxxroxx.com and www.kingsxonline.com.