A Timely, Welcome Coronation: King Woman at the Lodge Room

Celebrating an artistic high mark with a communal experience very much needed.

Photograph by Luis, Heaviest of Art

Words by Rohan (@manvsplaylist), Photos by Luis (@luis.hoa):

A week ago today in an upstairs room in bustling Highland Park, a sold-out crowd assembled to bear witness to an almighty coronation that served as the record release for King Woman's new full-length album, Celestial Blues, released that very day via Relapse Records. The evening marked one of the first shows the HOA crew had attended in over 18 months (since Cult of Luna/Emma Ruth Rundle), and it was clear that we were not the only ones relishing being back in a room filled with riffs and the smell of beer spilling on the floor.


King Woman have made a brave leap in their latest record, displaying a level of musical & creative maturity that builds upon everything that both the band & lead singer Kris Esfandiari’s solo work (Miserable, NGHTCRWLR, Dalmation) has produced to date. Celestial Blues possesses a brave confidence, an unforgettable visual identity, and a square focus on Esfandiari herself as chief protagonist in the mix. From the moments even before the band took the stage, it was clear that Esfandiari was more than ready for the band’s long-awaited return to playing in front of a live audience. Ordering the crowd gathered in front of the stage back, Kris directed traffic to open up her own intimate performance space on the floor, encircled with high anticipation.

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Photograph by Luis, Heaviest of Art

And it was in that eye-level space that she performed the entirety of the set. With the rest of the full band in a standard stage-height elevation, Kris barely kept her eyes off the crowd. The setting was dramatic & perfect. As a collective, the audience/performer relationship over the past 18 months has been shattered, and this approach to being one with the crowd dramatically heightened the sensory overload of simply being part of the live experience again. Prowling, peering, pirouetting – Kris held a truly commanding presence in this space and showed a powerful confidence in both her own delivery & her relationship with the crowd.

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