Those long acrylic fingernails Kaki King is sporting on her right hand? Strictly utilitarian—she uses them to pick stunningly intricate patterns on her guitar. While her early albums are hypnotic, layering and sequencing those patterns to dizzying effect while showing off her considerable technical prowess, the one-woman show didn't give much in the way of humable melodies (or, really, even lyrics) that could stick with you. Recently, King seems like she's gotten bored with making music that's so singularly focused on her skill with an axe; her last few albums show a desire to reach into singer-songwriter territory. She's still new at it, and even on her most recent album, Junior, she seems less experienced with words than with an alternately tuned guitar, but she's pushing herself, each piece of new material venturing further out of her virtuoso comfort zone. But even if the songs seem lopsided, King is such a marvel in a live setting that you could easily be satisfied with just watching her work. With An Horse. 18+.
Sat., May 8, 6 p.m., 2010