Salt Lake City has its fair share of metal, hardcore, alternative and pop-rock, but these guys classify themselves as “dance rock.” Ben Moffatt (guitar), Ransom Wydner (vocals), Tim Rawcliffe (bass), Andrew Sullivan (keyboards) and Zachary Sloan (drums) all knew each other before forming the band, but the rock didn’t really get rolling until they were all at a mutual friend’s party and decided to have a jam session.
King Niko is relatively new to the local scene, but certainly not new to music; all the members have been playing their respective instruments for nearly two decades. “I’ve been playing for around 25 years, Zac for about 22 years, and Ransom has been singing since he came out of the womb,” Moffatt says. Reid Laitinen, Sullivan’s replacement and the most recent addition to the band, adds, “I’ve been playing piano since the second grade. Tried guitar, but realized it was futile.”
They first released an EP back in 2009 and have just released their second, The French Accent EP, which is named after one of the three songs in the album. The set was released digitally in November, but physical CDs will be available for the first time at the band’s upcoming shows.
“When we write songs, it’s a collaborative effort,” Wydner says. “Ben initiates, but everyone puts in.”
X96’s Corey O’Brien describes King Niko as The Cult meets Panic at the Disco. He likens singer Wydner to “the only bar and adult novelty shop in an overly conservative town, rolled up into a walkin’, singin’ performer with a great voice.” High praise indeed from someone so deeply immersed in the music industry and who calls himself, “a jaded judge of music.”
King Niko has two big shows this week. In addition to a gig opening for Royal Bliss on Dec. 17 at Liquid Joe’s, they’re headlining a benefit Dec. 16 at Kilby Court for Corey Thomas, an avid member of the local music scene who was hurt in a recent accident. As she’s uninsured, Thomas is unable to pay the bulk of her medical bills. Donations will be accepted, there will be an auction at the show and the entry fee will all go to The Little Miss Corey Fund, which was set up to help Thomas.
w/ Discourse, Mason Jones & The Get Togethers, All Things Glowing Brightly, Damir Hara
741 S. Kilby Court (330 West)
Thursday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m.
w/ Royal Bliss
1249 E. 3300 South
Friday, Dec. 17, 9 p.m.