Showgazing: KeysNKrates at Commonwealth Lounge

There's two ways you can describe a vibrant, ground-breaking band. You can try piecing together the components of their sound, or you just talk about the way they make you feel. The first option is complicated and often involves a pile of stumbling adjectives, niche comparisons and a lot of suffixes like “-y” and “-esque.” The second option, the one that comes from your gut and leads to phrases like “totally fucking awesome,” works best for KeysNKrates.  This Canadian three-piece trades in a raw, rough and rhythmic style of “live remixing.” What the hell does that mean? Well, here's a simple math problem for you: DJ+keyboard player+drummer+other people's songs+improvisation+insane talent=KNK. Basically, they rip through the fabric of classics from any genre they want, and as the DJ cuts it up, the keys and drums lay on top, adding their own flair with precision.


Last night, KNK wowed a packed Thursday night crowd at Commonwealth Lounge in Fullerton, where OC twentysomethings come to reenact their favorite Bacardi commercials. With neon lights flashing and hot bodies crowding the space between the black leather couches on the dance floor, KNK took the stage with hard-hitting offerings that jumped genres on a dime.

The band blasted along to  Jay-Z's C.E.O. before revamping it into a high-velocity rock tune. Later, they scratched up “Fu-Gee-La,” a classic Fugees track. All the while, the crowd was either singing along to a familiar hook, swiveling their hips to salsa rhythms or just fighting for space to dance. 

At the head of the operation is DJ Jr-Flo, who both samples and scratches his tunes to add depth and complexity to everything from R&B to rock N roll (when we left, they were rocking a mashed-up version of Joan Jett's classic cover of “Crimson and Clover”). But the thing doesn't go without the prowess of Matisse Francois (synth/keyboards) and Adam Tune (drums). Though they tour all over the world, they've definitely found a crowd in Fullerton that they can always come back to.

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