The last night at Kings | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

The last night at Kings 

Evan Williams accepts a hug, and the wall speaks loudly.

Photo by Derek Anderson

Evan Williams accepts a hug, and the wall speaks loudly.

See also: The last night at Kings | Bull City HQ opens its doors to Durham | My favorite band is playing where?

Saturday night, I watched someone try to put a beer bottle inside a trashcan at Kings. As it came to rest, it started sliding again, pushing a dozen other bottles and cans to the floor with it. People stepped over the shattered ones and tried to put the whole bottles back in the can. I didn't rush to get away from the avalanche, and I didn't go look for the obvious other trashcan. Instead, I just remember staring at the overflowing bottles and cans, glancing around the packed-too-tight room and thinking, "Where is Mike Dillon?"

Click for larger image • The Greatest Hits onstage for the last night at Kings. It was breathing-room only. - PHOTO BY DEREK ANDERSON

You might remember Mike. Most people who went to Kings do. He's the smiling blond kid working the door, the one who lost one of his front teeth three years ago when he got mugged at a party. The News & Observer ran a story about the concert Mike's friends threw to buy him a new tooth, and local dentist Kevin Nashat just decided to give Mike the thing. Or maybe you've seen Mike onstage with Spader, or with the now-departed Kings talk show Oak City Nights, or with one of his noise bands (one of which is called Skeptic Tank!). Mike's been working at Kings for two years, and he's the best kind of Kings fixture—funny, friendly, known to play jokes on the kids who don't know better. He loves to talk about records. Saturday night—when the last set of six rock bands played Kings—Mike wasn't there when the bottles started falling. That didn't feel right. Kings as rubble doesn't feel right, either.

Mike wasn't there because he was working at Bickett, another gallery/club/conduit just a mile away that's being squeezed out of existence by high rent, liquor license fees and a lack of support by the city at large. But as soon as Bickett closed, Mike was down on McDowell Street, high-fiving and watching Birds of Avalon close out Kings. Long after the show was over but long before the club was empty (which was sometime after 5 a.m.), one of Kings' chief vinyl syndicates, DJ Castro, dropped an instrumental. Mike hit the stage around 3 a.m. and freestyled for maybe three minutes about life at Kings. It was a perfect outro, but it's safe to say some people wouldn't get it.

Likewise, it's understandable that the downtown renaissance or crusade, whichever you prefer, doesn't incorporate grimy, sweaty, smoky, sudsy, important places like Kings in its strategy for luring an association of optometrists or widget sellers to Cabarrus Street for the weekend. But it's not understandable when the City—rich, persuasive and very fond of the Gin Blossoms in the Moore Square Arts (?!) District—decides it needs to live all over the city—creative, busy and very fond of doing something for itself. No one should be mad that this one tiny location of cinder blocks and steel beams on South McDowell Street (which happens to be Raleigh's most important musical focal point in two decades) is being closed because it's cheaper for Raleigh Development Company to have the city raze the building for free now rather than keep collecting rent and just do it later. Those are details.

That's going to leave a stain. And we're not even talking about the Convention Center. - PHOTO BY DEREK ANDERSON

The real shame here is that the city knows exactly what it's doing: Let the kids build something on a block no one cares about, and then use that hipness as a stepping stone for your "Raleigh Rocks" (did you see that video?) municipal image. Drive the kids out now, and—who knows?—repeat in a decade. We'll see.

The Kings triumvirate acts like it's going to move on to a new space, and maybe it will. Maybe the Jackpot will be a bit more packed for a few months, and maybe you'll hear a lot of loud bands in cheap Raleigh living rooms this summer. Or maybe what Kings had to give—which was a club run by musicians that was equally welcoming of its audience and its entertainment—won't return for a long time. Either way, I just hope someone gives Mike Dillon another barstool and moneybox soon. Because hearing him rhyme about it onstage—smiling, dancing, dropping his AIM name in a verse as kids literally ripped the bathroom wall apart—was, at the very least, the most fitting performance I've seen this year. Hey, Doug Grissom, can we get Skeptic Tank on for Raleigh Downtown Live?

Birds of Avalon takes its final Kings salute. - PHOTO BY DEREK ANDERSON

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

I am very impressed with the jazz musician Al Strong. I started checking him out years ago at Humble Pie …

by Radio Clash on Al Strong is at the epicenter of a Triangle jazz revival. And his debut LP, LoveStrong Vol. 1, is a treat. (Music Feature)

Funny how you're using Gram Parsons brass buttons to describe his look, I was thinking the same exact thing before …

by Laurel Benner on The quiet chemistry of Carrboro's Mandolin Orange (Music Feature)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

I am very impressed with the jazz musician Al Strong. I started checking him out years ago at Humble Pie …

by Radio Clash on Al Strong is at the epicenter of a Triangle jazz revival. And his debut LP, LoveStrong Vol. 1, is a treat. (Music Feature)

Funny how you're using Gram Parsons brass buttons to describe his look, I was thinking the same exact thing before …

by Laurel Benner on The quiet chemistry of Carrboro's Mandolin Orange (Music Feature)

I spotted Ivan at Pie Pushers before the Bon Iver show in Durham this past Monday night and wondered what …

by Shocka Kahn on With the Rosebuds, Ivan Howard Inspired a Generation of Triangle Musicians. So Where Did He Go? (Music Feature)

I was a sophomore in high school when I was introduced to John McLaughlin via the Birds Of Fire album …

by Anthony Richards on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

i was born in the 60s and i know him well,... i hope we keep him close in the memories …

by Cee Will on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin Looks Toward Retirement After Half a Century of Groundbreaking Guitar Work (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation