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Kuinka says "Goodbye" to Seattle before tour.

With the end of the year creeping up, a lot of us are getting invites to the final show of the year from our favorite bands. While it is the winding down of a year, the band Kuinka is just getting warmed up. A couple weeks after the New Year they will be on the road for their next month long tour. Last May had them on a month long west coast tour for their just-released EP "Stay Up Late". This time around they will be going as far out as New York. Before they head out for their on the road adventures they had a going away show here in their hometown of Seattle at Neumos last Saturday. 

 

Their Impact

This having been my first time shooting at Neumos, I made sure to get to the venue early to ensure I got a good spot. As the night filled out it became clear the loyal following Kuinka has. Couples young, old and groups of friends all gathered to hear songs from one of their favorite bands.

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I can't help but wonder the circumstances that brought these folks all under one roof; Did a friend gift them the album, maybe one of them fell in love listening to them on a long road trip or maybe for someone else their music got them through a rough patch. Whatever the case may be, in four short years, Kuinka has been able to share and connect their music bringing together a room full of devoted listeners.  

 

The line-up

The night was brought together with three phenomenal acts making it a powerhouse line-up.

Opening the night Sundog brought the full on rock n roll with a hint of blues.


First time seeing Vaudeville Etiquette and they are quite a worthy mention - I may have found a new favorite band! 


Meet Kuinka

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This four-piece was brought together by Miranda Zickler who shares songwriting and vocals with two brothers Zach and Nathan Hamer. It's a pleasure to go to a show and have the position of singer sonwriter shared amongst multiple members.

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The brothers hold down the rhythm section, Nathan with his percussive style of ukulele playing (on some songs) and Zach with a single kick drum and an electronic drum pad. 

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To round out the sound Jilian Walker was the final member to join complementing with cello and harmonies. Each member takes on multiple instruments and to top it off, they all sing.

 As she chimed in with singing for her first time for the night there was an uproar of cheering from what seemed to be a very responsive crowd.

As she chimed in with singing for her first time for the night there was an uproar of cheering from what seemed to be a very responsive crowd.

 

Their sound

Kuinka rings in with modern anthems that sound like a joyous revival. Their set felt like a celebration with thought-provoking lyrics, jolts of back up vocals, and splashes of sounds from instruments like ukulele, cello, banjos, and mandolins. Most songs have the heartbeat of a kick drum to get you dancing. I found myself drawing similarities with bands like the Lumineers, Mumford and Sons and with the live energy of bands like Arcade Fire. The band's folk roots are very apparent when you listen to their full-length album "The Heartland" but somehow the band has evolved their sound with their new ep "Stay Up Late". What's impressive is that though their sound has changed they've still managed to use the same musical instruments to deliver us something with a completely different feel.

I find I have a weakness for good songwriting and after quite a few number of listens I took a closer look at what their lyrics had to offer. I quickly found a new layer of appreciation for their EP.

With a song like 'Mistakenly Brave' you hear Nathan bring in a chorus, singing:

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I'm rocking the boat, I'm starting the wave, 

I'm kicking the shoreline, I'm mistakenly brave, 

I'm nothing but broke and bottles are broken, nothing to save, 

I'm a wandering whirlwind, I'm mistakenly brave

There are no high horses and talk of having it all figured out. I like that this song feels humane and that it speaks of what seems to be imperfection; in a juxtaposed tone of joy he sings his defiant truth. 

In 'Curious Hands' Miranda is also unassuming in showing her vulnerability. You hear the concept of passing time and the admittance to living an unfurled life.

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The undercurrent theme of this 4 song EP seems to be one of exploration, asking questions and a willingness to take on adventure. Add that to the band's exuberant delivery and you have yourself music put together in a way that you probably haven't heard before. This is an EP to be proud of. It's easily digestible and an exciting listen that leaves you craving for a little bit more. This is a great condition to leave us in as we follow along on this adventure with Kuinka.