Stuff That Works - A Review of Skyking - Progressive Rock Band From Grand Haven

Skyking - Caleb VanDyke, Jude Lolley, Jonas Quirin, and Nate Dill.

A funny thing happened on the way to The Preservers launch party for their second CD last night: I had the pleasure of getting two ears full of these guys: Skyking.
Here is my review of "Made With Soy" from The Preservers.

The fun happened at the new location for LowellArts on Main Street in sunny, downtown Lowell. (If you have not seen the new gallery/performance space there - prepare to be Mucho Impressed. It is flat out gorgeous and the flexibility designed into it makes it a veritable Swiss Army Knife of Art Galleries!)

Skyking started warming up a couple minutes after Julie and I arrived. Bit me right in the ear just fooling around checking levels. Wait - What? Who are these guys?

The warm up was just that - a teaser of the killer music these guys from Grand Haven can make. They put a permagrin on my face from about 4 bars into their seven song set. They played tow covers - Purple Haze by Hendrix and Cissy Strut by The Meters - but the other five tunes were original and great. (Wait, Sunroom, Omanmach, Culture Shock, and Living in Time).

Skyking makes progressive rock music - right up my freakin' alley. Nothing makes me happier than music with polyrhythmic beats, rock solid bass, soaring keyboards and ripping guitar. (My idea of great music growing up included Yes, Todd Rundgren/Utopia, Genesis/Peter Gabriel, etc., etc.) Skyking delivers everything that fits my idea of progressive rock.

Prog rock has to have a thumpin foundation - Caleb VanDyke provides just that.

Bass playing vocalist Jude Lolley completes the construction of the basement for Skyking. (Hmmm, seems to me there is some rock outfit from up north with a singing bass player....
name escapes me right now.)

Sad to say, this is my least blurry picture of kick-ass lead guitar player Nate Dill going to work. Hard to take steady pics when the music has you bouncing. 

Any attempt at prog rock had better have someone skilled with keys. No problem - Jonas Quirin has that base covered. I love synths and it was some of Jonas' knob twisting, note sliding warm ups that grabbed my ears when I arrived for the show.

Skyking had me shaking my head in wonder, bouncing around, and smiling like a lottery winner. I was not the only one in the room yelling "More" when their seven song set came to an end. Jude answered our request by telling us the band had only been playing together for 3 months so they really didn't have any more material.

What fresh helping of prevarication is this? Only playing together for a few months? After hearing some of his between-song patter (fer instance: "Good evening Lowell, we are Hall & Oats."), I chalked up the tale of band history to be more good natured hooey, but meeting with the band after they played led me to discover that they indeed only had been playing together for a short time. Which is NOT to say that they have been making music for a short time - these guys have honed their skills with other people in other bands - believe me.

Day-yum - if Skyking can do what they do after that brief time period, the future had better be on the look out for them. Seriously, if you enjoy any manifestation of progressive rock, I am confident you will find Skyking a freakin' treat. They have gig information on their Facebook page: Skyking.

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