Concert Reviews · Reviews

Concert Review: Common Kings Reign At Bowery Ballroom


I’m a Caribbean girl. Anytime I get to hear my tropical roots grow in a surprise atmosphere, I feel moved. Bowery hosts a list of talents every day, but not many can say they bring Reggae/ R&B/ Soul/ Latin Funk and splice it like an onion ready to be sautéed in some rock n’ roll butter. Enter Common Kings as artists that do not play live, like others, but play ALIVE!

God, this review is going to be hard to write, in part, because I had fun. I feel like the funnest things are the hardest to define because bliss is not meant to be confined by words. It is a sentiment that makes you feel above the petty and practical, to which is a testament to Common Kings in concert. Their show gives you the exhilaration you wish you could have every second of your life, but, instead, you settle for the high-octane moments, like their concert, that become permanent memories/standards for joy. Common Kings set a norm of fun that, after you see them, will become a comparison point for every artist’s show after. I had heard of them before as “feel good band” that bring a PARTY (in caps) when they play live. Yet, like any great thing, they are to be experienced, especially, because I believe I have found why they are such great performers. While many artists love their music and love the idea of you, the listener, loving it, as well, not everyone enjoys performing or sees it as an altruistic endeavor. The stage is a place to share your music with a fan in utmost vulnerability and self-willingness, to which Common Kings find their own exhilaration. For these guys, a cheering crowd is the equivalent of a choir of angels.

When you go to a Common Kings concert, you know they love you. The more “hype” the audience gives, the crazier they get in riffs, vibes, and a desire to be apart of you: the crowd. While most people dream of being the artist in concert, as you see JR King sit on the edge of the stage and sing with the crowd, you get the feeling that he dreams of you: the viewer. He looks on with a gratitude and love that furthers your, later to be realize as bad, sing-along capacities. I say “realize as bad” because Common Kings makes you feel so warm and welcome that you sing out loud, only to discover later, while eating pizza with your friend, that not once were you on pitch.  Yes, that is how awesome JR King, T Grey, Rome, Uncle Lui or Common Kings are as four persons who laugh, banter, point at, and hi-five their crowd like they won Super-Bowl. Yet, at the end of the day, you go to see a band for their music, with the idea of potential friendship bracelets being exchanged with the them as a happy dream. Thus, on to the music.

JR King has a voice that was gift-wrapped by Jesus for R&B and soul. Even amongst the funk-rock and reggae rhythms that course through their songs, he manages to keep a balance voice that feels lie the “home base” for every song. While, usually, it is the beat that feels like the foundation of a track, because their chords can feel like wild vibrations, King’s smooth vocals come off like the one consistent, positive vibe you will find no matter what. He never misses a chance to riff up annotations with a voice to make the crowd gleeful by his talent. Such a playful personality with the crowd is why everyone will walk out feeling like a Common King. When you treat your audience like they are yours, they return the feeling by making you theirs. Moreover, their latest album, Life In Paradise, is one to dance and transform a room into a beach festival. For More Information On Common Kings Click Here.