One of Saskatoon’s best kept secrets include a brother and sister team bringing an amazing array of talent. When I first asked people about Violent Kin, they got excited and couldn’t wait to tell me about them. “Great stage show.” “, The cd is on constant play in my car.”, “They’re amazing.” “Such a good show.”
And then came the question that no one could answer, “Who are they like?” No one could answer me on this. Which is quite strange for most local bands, as they take on a distinctive style that most mainstream bands play, which makes them the most identifiable. (Sheepdogs = Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young + The Band + Folk pop of the late 70’s.) That basic template makes it easier for people to go and see. It makes it easily marketable.
Unless they are really good.
There is no equal to this duet team. Maygen and SJ Kardash have put in their hours to the craft, and it shows. Influences on People, (and from what I can relate to) include British pop UB40, Roxette, any John Hughes movie from the 80’s with teen empowerment as a main theme, and so many others. The music itself takes that slice of late 80’s and early 90’s where the majority of People (now currently late 30 somethings) were clinging onto Pop, before the harder edge of grunge rock became the norm. They are that lost summer where you wanted one more year of teased hair, neon shirts, and being radical. It takes quite a bit of talent to take this, and not make it cheezey or false with parody.
The message and lyrics are subtle, working your way into deeper meanings that make you want to relisten again and again. And surprisingly the meaning of the songs really reflect these current times of information consumption and channeling the human spirit through these artificial tools. “We’re losing our instincts and in a state of unconsciousness we’re more machine than man.”
(Ironic? I write this on a hunk of plastic, electronic circuit, WiFi signal, and liquid crystals being anonymous in a cafe, while checking my social feeds as to what everyone is doing. Tell me this isn’t the future.) I keep replaying the cd, as like a good book it listens a little different each time.
The stage show at the 220 grand opening was amazing. I had forgotten about huge light shows. Just huge bright light that seemed to creep into every corner of the room. Maygen Kardash on keyboard, clad in Sgt Pepper uniform jacket, leaving stark Patrick Nagel outlines on my retinas. Her voice, clean and sweet, jumping up and declaring to be paid attention. SJ Kardash becomes that guy. Axe hung low, working the crowd with a taught guitar string and smooth trained voice, reaching for those lower depths, still able to harmonize in the upper range. If you were a teen in the 80’s and wanted to play guitar and become a rock god? Yeah, SJ becomes THAT guy on stage. (And you can tell they are siblings, the banter between them definitely shows. But once it’s done, the show is on.) Talented range between the two of them range from the avant garde stage show to an unrelenting driving beat that will take you back to when mesh, leather ties, and Alf ruled. And still not making it cheezy. And still making it relevant to what’s happening today.
So what are they like? They are a crazy talented band that you will tell your friends about. They bring an evening of amazing sounds and sights. This is Pop, perfected. And I’m not one for listening to much Pop. Go see the shows now. Bring extra cash to buy the albums from them. Check their tour dates.
Yeah, they are that good.
Don’t believe me? Please, see the show and prove me wrong.
All things Violent Kin can be found at their website at http://www.violentkin.com
I’m still here,