Kink Ador at Mercy Lounge

I recently got a call from my brother Corey, a drummer in town, telling me he was going to sit in for a song with a band called Kink Ador down at Mercy Lounge. Most, if not all, of Kink Ador call East Nashville home, and I always love checking out the local cheese.

My wife Ginger and I met up with Corey and his wife Jen across the river at the Mercy Lounge. The room was spaciously empty, and since I’m such a rebel, that made me happy. We were there early though, which allowed ample time for the place to fill up just enough to make you feel the energy of other people without having to fight for basic survival resources like oxygen, points of escape and elbow room at the bar.

Another reason the audience had a chance to grow was because the band got started a little late, creating a buzz of annoyance/anticipation that seems to be a prerequisite for any decent show these days.

East Nashville's own Kink Ador (Photo: Ray + Wendy)

Once the sound of the crowd murmuring became a sufficient hum, Kink Ador appeared from backstage. I was surprised to see that they are a trio. I guess I expected a troupe playing keyboards, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, a washtub bass, synthesizers, xylophones, a harmonica, a laptop, their iPhones and whatever other noisemakers people pile onto a stage these days. No, Kink Ador do it simply. They are a drummer, a guitarist and a bassist/singer. The guitarist and the bassist also played trumpets from time to time. Really cool.

Guitarist Andrew Sovine had a few tricks up his sleeve and seemed to play mostly textural riffs and patterns which allowed the guitar to have its own voice, ornamenting the rhythm section rather than sitting all over it and being just another thump in the beat. There were occasional, tastefully done guitar solos which followed melodic themes from the song. He played some beautiful sounding vintage instruments, though I can’t tell you what they are offhand. In addition to the electric guitar, he also played a lap slide. Whatever the instrument, Sovine was adept and capable on his instruments and knew how to translate his skill into emotive playing.

Sharon Koltick on trumpet (Photo: Ray + Wendy)

As far as the vocals go, it was pretty hard for me to hear what vocalist Sharon Koltick was saying. Whether it was due to the house mix, her pronunciation or our position in the room is something I don’t know. From what I could hear, there was a girlish poppiness in the melody, vocal delivery and stage presence. Koltick’s vocals sat in the rhythms well, danced above them when appropriate and supplied a unifying thread for the audience to lock onto. Every so often, Sovine would sing backup. Their voices might have blended well together in other circumstances, but in this case his voice was mixed louder and sounded clearer than hers, creating a feeling of insubordination and imbalance when he chimed in.

Koltick’s duties also included the bass guitar. I am always impressed by that feat – it’s like simultaneously being rain on the roof and a brontosaurus. The bass lines were a punky throb which clung pretty closely to the songs’ chordal triads and orbited the kick drum relatively tightly. There was some more melodic movement present in the riffish licks she threw in here and there.

The solidly pounding tempo, subtle accents and dynamics, and advanced cymbal technique left me impressed with Brad Naylor‘s drumming throughout the set. His beats were designed to make us move and delivered with a restrained, focused intensity that made me wonder half-excitedly and half-fearfully what would happen if he were to let absolutely loose.

One of the benefits of being a trio is there is room to bring in other people for collaboration, and Kink Ador used that to their advantage. They brought up two unique female vocalists for a song each and my brother joined their drummer on the penultimate song to create an explosively percussive piece.

All in all, I would recommend seeing Kink Ador – their music was well played, and the mood was assertive yet fun. Not only will you be showing support for a talented group of Eastsiders, but you also might be pleasantly surprised. They definitely surprised me.

Kink Ador will play two benefit shows later this month: Light One Up for Kenya at The Basement on April 17, and the release party for the We Will Not Ignore EP to benefit Haiti at Exit/In on April 22. In the meantime, follow them on Twitter, check out their music on Myspace or connect with them on Facebook.

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