By Stephanie Roman
Player/Kommander describe themselves as "a splash of New York glam with motor oil under their nails." Equally at home playing L.A.'s Viper Room or a juke joint on the Mississippi delta, PK brought their unique style of glitterbilly rock home to Atlanta on Friday night. The band did not let the venue's small crowd prevent them from launching into an arena-rock worthy performance of their diverse music and showmanship. Frankly, I expected no less from James Hall (former frontman of Mary My Hope and Pleasure Club), but this was my first glimpse of a live show from the quintet.
The concept behind Player/Kommander seems quite democratic, with each member contributing to both the creation and execution of the overall band concept. The resulting slow grooves, dirty beats, and high energy anthems are belted out by a band of modern day pirates. One even sports Adam Ant's sassy dash of makeup under his left eye. I would also guess that more than one person is a fan of Motley Crue and Poison, but that's exactly what makes this band so much fun.
The crowd was treated to several tracks from PK's first album, On the Eve of Absolute Get Down, (available on iTunes and Amazon). I turned over a copy of their LP on orange vinyl at the merch table and loved the touch of handwritten lyrics adorning the sleeve. The set started off with "Physical," then continued with guitar-driven crowd pleasers "You Put The Wig In Wig Out," "You've Had Your Fun" and closed with "Way Faux El Diablo." The band also does well with slower groove-based songs which showcase Mr. Hall's soulful singing and his flirtation with stream-of-consciousness lyrics and rhymes. These spoken word interludes seem too organic to be rehearsed, and demonstrate one of those enviable qualities possessed by the improv actor. Special mention goes to the keyboard-accompanied funk fest, "The New Black." I'm not sure if it's on the album, but definitely worth trying to find for a listen (and hopefully fans will let me know if I didn't catch the song's title correctly).
Hear more from Player/Kommander at their extremely well-designed website at www.playerkommander.com, which brilliantly ties together the visual concept of the album.