If you ask Rachel and the Kings how their group began, they might give you the boring version: That frontwoman Rachel James was recording an album and, thanks to happenstance, came across a handful of willing musicians in the process.
If not, they’ll definitely tell you the cool version: They were part of a hostage situation in Tehran, Iran. They decided to make a band to pass the time. Ben Affleck joined their act, flew them back to the United States, and labeled them Rachel and the Argof-ckyourselves.
Unfortunately, because of copyright laws and the fact that none of them actually know Ben Affleck, the latter never happened. Formed in 2012, Rachel and the Kings made their non-fictitious debut without Affleck onstage at The UMS.
They’re an upbeat group that likes to have a good time. Rachel describes their sound as a mesh of Muse, Florence + the Machine and Alanis Morissette. The bandmates joke they’ve gone through about 38 musicians total. But the truth is, they’re relatively fresh and stable with a roster that includes: James (keys, lead vocals), Dave Preston (guitar, vocals), Noah Matthews (bass, vocals), Ian Short (violin) and Joel Matthews (drums).
Since debuting at The UMS two years ago, the group wants to hone their live show. “We want to be a kick-ass live band, we really want to make a good show,” James said. “When you’re surrounded by a lot of other people working on their craft, it inspires you.”
The Kings agree that you can live vicariously through other bands by attending fests like UMS. They say there’s a certain empathy that’s created — musicians relating to other musicians’ good and bad live moments. You can go and party at UMS, or you can learn new things and network.
Rachel and the Kings hope to do both, joking that you’ll be able to find them terrorizing people with Muppets. They also want to be the first band to play a live set on the moon. Fingers crossed.
Rachel and the Kings play The UMS at 9 p.m. on July 25 at the Irish Rover. They are fresh off touting a recently released EP. Titled “Edge of Me,” the project was released publicly July 11 as a multimedia package that includes songs and art. Stay tuned for more information, as well as schedule updates here.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of Denver’s music scene?
Q: How did you guys settle on the band name?
For you, what does a successful live show look like?
Q: What’s the coolest thing a fan has ever done for you?
Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
Embarrassing moment part two…
Sean Fitz-Gerald is a new contributor to Reverb and a features intern at the Denver Post.