aKing: The Red Blooded Years

By Kate Maclean

aKING is a purely South African band that has managed to produce music which not only takes listeners on a journey, but also succeeds in leaving them wanting more.

A melodic and alternative pop-rock band, aKING was formed in 2007 by Fokofpolisiekar members Hunter Kennedy and Jaco “Snakehead” Venter, along with Laudo Liebenberg, and Hennie Van Halen. Two albums later, Andrew Davenport replaced Hunter Kennedy and the writing and recording of the group’s fourth album, The Red Blooded Years, was initiated.

“Dutch Courage”, their first studio album, debuted in 2008, followed by their second album in 2009, “Against All Odds”. Touring South Africa extensively, aKING has played at major festivals such as Coke Zero Fest and Oppikoppi Music Festival, amongst others. Associated with bands such as Fokofpolisiekar, Die Heuwels Fantasties and Van Coke Kartel, these four bands often play together as the group VanFokKingTasties. Many radio stations including 5fm, Kfm and campus radio stations nationwide, often playlist aKING songs ?? a great accomplishment for the local band.

With their latest album release, The Red Blooded Years, aKING has once again managed to impress their audiences with their unique music. With meaningful and often tongue-in-cheek lyrics, the band covertly touches on socio-political situations as well as incorporates their own personal experiences into their music.

So what can you expect from their latest album The Red Blooded Years? Anticipate an onslaught of focused energy; a collaboration of infectious energy and creative forces. Personally I feel aKING is a band with unlimited aspirations that has not forgotten where they have come from.

Entitled The Red Blooded Years, the album is focused on the theme of paths travelled. The lyrics are very personal, giving the album a degree of authenticity which some bands fail to achieve. Just to highlight their individuality, the album ends with something out of the ordinary: an instrumental. Allowing the listener to gather their thoughts about the ‘journey’ they just travelled ?? a perfect ending to this album.

Since the launch of their first album, aKING has received rave reviews and extensive coverage in newspapers, magazines as well as a number of local television shows.

As drummer Jaco “Snakehead” Venter states: this album is largely about “growing up… as a band and as individuals”. This statement is further supported by the title track’s lyrics:
In hindsight my red blooded years will offer nothing to learn/
In lingering nightfall it’s easier to see with no light at all/
Rebuilding bridges still burning strong/
Time to rekindle/
What’s gone is gone.

Serving as both a journey for their listeners as well as a departure for their band and sound, aKING’s new album is definitely worth a listen. South Africa is producing some amazing artists ?? right under our noses.

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