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King of Heck brings latest album to life at Colorado shows

King of Heck put on one heck of a good show and gave life to their latest album at Rhinoceropolis in Denver on Sept. 8.

After releasing their debut album, “Shine In My Chest,” the band booked a full nationwide tour. Hippy-rock band Hikes accompanied King of Heck for over half their dates and had local support at every show. In addition to the Denver show, King of Heck gave another performance at 110 Below in Colorado Springs on Sept 7.


King of Heck has only been active since spring of 2019, but despite how new the band is, the band members aren’t new to the process.

“We’ve been touring since we were like 17 or 18 years old,” said vocalist and guitarist Joel Kirschenbaum. “Since like, 2012.”

Previously, the members of King of Heck; Kirschenbaum, Tyler Kawada on vocals and bass, Cody Furin on guitar and Nick Strader on drums, were in another band together.

“We used to be in a band called Alaska, it’s the same thing as that,” Kirschenbaum said. “In a way we were trying to build just a little world full of memories, ideas and things; King of Heck was supposed to be a more direct and distilled version of that.”

Maybe we had a bit of a broader picture when we had all these songs, but when we cut away at it we had a really specific vision.” – Joel Kirschenbaum vocalist and guitarist of King of Heck

While King of Heck and Alaska share elements sonically and conceptually, most of those stem only from the members having worked together for so long. It has been four years since Alaska’s last release, “Shrine,” and since then, the band has grown.

“We’re trying to take on something more mature,” Kirschenbaum said. “It was more like Alaska was a bad name.”

band members playing their instruments
King of Heck performs their new album “Shine in My Chest” in Denver on Sept. 8. (Megan McGregor I Collegian)

“It’s good to maybe freeze something in time, or put a pause on it,” Kirschenbaum said of the name change.

“That’s what the band is forever,” Strader said.

The collection of memories King of Heck attempted to make with “Shine In My Chest” can be seen not only in the album but in their music videos of Bb Bricked Out and Sup Doc. Both videos feature a series of pictures and videos taken on tour.


“There’s this thing Frank Ocean did, I really like how Blonde is a mosaic of his life,” Kirschenbaum said. “Maybe we had a bit of a broader picture when we had all these songs, but when we cut away at it we had a really specific vision.”

King of Heck’s live performance shows this vision well. They played the album in sequence, and while it wasn’t a very long performance, it was definitely an entrancing one.

“Every night it’s evolving a little bit,” Strader said, referring to their live set. “To be its best version, I want to bring some improvisation to it and also just have fun with it.”

Their set highlights not only their musical ability but displays the intricacies of “Shine in my Chest.”

“The fact that they played it through, including some of the extra production of the album, is super cool,” said Jenna Holden, an audience member who went to both shows. “You don’t see a lot of artists committing fully to an album in a live show.”

Shortly before their two Colorado dates, the band’s van broke down in Atlanta. They drove over thirty hours to reach Colorado in time for the shows.

“When you’re on tour, you’re gonna run into issues and it’s expected,” Kirschenbaum said. “It’s cool that we got a lot of help from friends and people who like our band.”

King of Heck offers a surreal experience that captures their album entirely. They’ve shown that a group of artists can change their sound, even change their name and still keep the support of their fans.

Joel Thompson can be reached at or on Twitter @probably_joel

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