Adelaide Guitar Festival Review: Kaki King – The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 11 August 2018

Kaki King provides an electric performance like no other at the Adelaide Guitar Festival with her imaginative approach to what creative solo performances can be.

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia in America, Kaki King is both a talented guitarist and composer, having appeared on Late Night With Conan O’Brien alongside touring Australia with the Foo Fighters in 2007 and has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score alongside two other composers for the soundtrack to Sean Penn’s Into the Wild.

King quite literally lights up the audience’s world as both her guitar and the large screen behind her are lit up by kaleidoscopic projections of multiplying patterns, designs and colours. This visual extravaganza is created through projection mapping, placing luminous visions of flocking flamingos, textures and skins, whirring gears and repetitive patterns up high for the audience to feast their eyes upon.

Her musical performance is utterly mesmerising and creates an almost other-worldly experience. King’s fingerstyle playing encompasses fret-tapping with slap bass techniques as she uses the guitar to create percussive beats, exploring genres such as acoustic rock, instrumental and jazz. There is also an element of sound layering and looping which, when combined with her choice of swirling graphics and images, transports her audience to a new, electric environment.

The Surface Changes, one of King’s most famous songs, does not come even close to disappointment. Instead, it truly summarises what this musician is about; her mix of melodies, combined with the choice of mesmerising visuals, draw the audience in emotionally to her performance. Interestingly, King does all of this without using body language or facial expressions (as many other guitarists do), and instead remains blank-faced behind her signature set of white sunglasses.

King’s performance contrasts heavily with many of the others at this year’s Adelaide Guitar Festival. She redefines what performing as a solo instrumentalist can be, branching definitively into the role of an artist and it is definitely a winner with the audience.

King’s The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body provides a mesmerising performance like no other, transporting the audience to a new world that blooms with unique melodies, vibrant colours and kaleidoscopic designs.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Twitter: @Georgie_xox

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About Author

Georgina is a Media student majoring in journalism at the University of Adelaide, and has a keen interest in the arts, culture, fashion, food and people. She hopes her passion and enthusiasm about the Adelaide scene will influence others to make the most of what Adelaide has to offer!

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