Christone “Kingfish” Ingram Christens the Troubadour
Photos and words by Matt Stasi
If you’ve seen any number of live shows you know that there are certain times when you catch yourself mid-performance awestruck, saying, “this is something special.” It’s rare, but when it happens you leave the venue almost with a sense of giddiness, wanting to tell everyone about the brilliance you just witnessed. This was the case Thursday night at the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA when Christone “Kingfish” Ingram came to town. The buzz was clearly palpable by the time the supporting Nashville based act Kat Milk Blu took the stage. Already standing room only, you could hear hushed “Have you seen Christone before?” sentiments throughout the room. The word was out that this kid was something special, and the crowd grew increasingly anxious to see what it was all about. Kat Milk Blu set the mood perfectly with their funked-out grooves.
Finally, it’s time. Members of Kingfish’s band quietly file down the steps from the dressing room to take their places on stage. But no Kingfish. Then out of nowhere soulful guitar riffs pierce through the room, sending the crowd into a frenzy. After a beat, Kingfish saunters down the steps and coolly takes the stage. From the first note we know that the hype is real. The kid is legit. He goes on to play a two and a half hour set filled with impossible blues guitar licks, velvety baritone vocals, a touch of humor, and of course a full helping of good ol’ southern charm.
It should be noted that this kid, who is melting the faces off a room filled with well versed fans, is only twenty years old — not even legal to be in the venue. He plays with a command that is rarely seen from anyone twice his age. One of the many highlights of the evening is “Love Ain’t My Favorite Word”. You can hear a pin drop throughout the room as the slow guitar riffs build into a ripping solo.
It’s at about this time that Kingfish exits the stage, guitar in hand, and makes his way through the general admission crowd, belting out a blistering guitar solo throughout. But he doesn’t stop there. He continues up the stairs and into his dressing room. The crowd roars as we follow him from the dressing room, and through the balcony area. Fans crowd around him to be a part of the action, and of course take the obligatory selfie with the blues crooner.
The set ends with a powerful version of the classic, “Hey Joe”, that would make Hendrix himself tip his hat in overwhelming approval. For an encore Kingfish chooses an instrumental version of Prince’s “Purple Rain”. His guitar screams through the verses, leaving the room standing in awe.
At only twenty years of age, it’s still very early in Kingfish’s career. However, having already performed at the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama, and shared the stage with legends like Eric Gales and Buddy Guy, the sky is the limit for this once-in-a-lifetime type of talent.
Kat Milk Blu