Kings Kaleidoscope is a multi-MULTI-piece band with everything from a strings trio, to a horn section, to the occasional tubular bell appearance. Led by Chad Gardner, they have managed to not just blend their various instruments, but conscientiously add and subtract them to best serve the music. My introduction to them came through their short-film style, live project called Live In Color.
You can hear the men of Emery rant and rave about Kings and their unique, potentially watershed approach to their music on the Bad Christian Podcast, as well as give context to the process and meaning of their latest release, Becoming Who We Are. But to see why Toby of Emery says “[Kings] is going to usher in a new era for worship music that goes beyond the congregational Sunday morning setting”, you don’t need to look any further than this incredible 30 minutes of truly inspired music.
While I imagine the live experience is beyond the realms of what your sonic palate can handle without going beautifully insane, Live In Color does not disappoint in portraying the power of their musical presence in a way that the audio alone can hint at, but not every fully embody. There is something authentic and incredibly entrancing about their delivery, especially Chad Gardners, that makes moments even greater to define within extended sections of emotive scrumptiousness. Yeah, it’s a word.
My 7 Favorite Moments of Live In Color
1) Defender (5:37) Let’s just put aside for a second the fact that tubular bells are on the scene. After seeing the controlled vocal unleash (an oxymoron, I know) of many worship singers who don’t want to veer into “performing”, and the more, shall we say, “free” approach of some who seem all too aware of the crowd, I was surprisingly affected by Chad here. There is something incredibly authentic about how he takes the guitar off to throw his whole body into his voice, unhindered by either what is “expected” of a Christian when worshipping, or the awareness of the cameras. He just worships…completely.
2) Felix Culpa (8:07) When I heard that Emery was a fan/sponsor of Kings, I was expecting a bit of the hardcore, screaming tone from Chad. I was almost disappointed until this moment. Then I forgot what I was whining about.
3) Felix Culpa (8:51)
And still I’m a wicked, wretched man, I do everything I hate
I am fighting to be god, I seethe and claw and thrash and shake
I have killed and stacked the dead, on a throne from which I reign
In the end I just want blood, and with His blood my hands are stained
See the God who reigns on high, He has opened His own veins
From His wound’s a rushing torrent that can wash it all away
Grace upon grace, upon grace upon grace
4) Be Thou My Vision (14:25) I’d find it hard to keep from screaming too if I was in the midst of this incredible reimagining of a classic.
5) Seek Your Kingdom (18:40) Now that’s just showing off
6) Higher Throne (23:27) I was already completely engulfed in the aura of this song, this hymn from another time, and then the extra, ethereal voices came in and it was over…I haven’t heard anything like this in a very, very long time
7) Fix My Eyes (27:58) The song itself is beautiful, but the setting here, in the dark and hollow, is evidence not only of Kings’ attention to detail, but of how powerfully all the colors, sounds and space can work together to create something you can’t put in headphones or on paper.
Chad’s interview on the Bad Christian Podcast provided me with a level of understanding and background on this project as well as their latest that, in all honesty, was the most powerful testament to Kings’ music and meaning that I could ask for. His divulgence of his very turbulent past year and the process through which their latest project came to completion is worth every second.