Kings Kaleidoscope returns to SoCal for Tension Tour

Propaganda and Kings K balance the wrongs of society with the love of God.


Melissa Hedrick/THE CHIMES

Melissa Hedrick, Writer

Since the release of their most recent album “The Beauty Between” on Aug. 18, Kings Kaleidoscope has hit the road with Propaganda for The Tension Tour. They combined to create a show unafraid of addressing topics such as racism, privilege and pain — but also love.

progression from tension to triumph

As the opener, Propaganda presented his songs as a progression from tension to triumph, expressing the trials he faced growing up in L.A. and the pain he suffered due to racism, but reminding the audience of God’s role and how his true identity is in Christ. Many songs were from his album “Crooked,” which released on June 30, 2014, though he also included well known songs such as “Crimson Cord” and “Excellent.”

Afterward, singer Chad Gardner stepped onto the stage with four other Kings Kaleidoscope band members and the audience’s energy rose. They played a balanced selection of older songs from “Becoming Who We Are” and “Beyond Control” in addition to eight of the 10 songs from their newest album, “The Beauty Between.” They only forwent the instrumental “Every Branch (Reprieve)” and “Danger in the Jungle,” which is mainly an excerpt from the speech “Journeying Through a Jungle” by preacher Sandy Ray.

One highlight of the show was the amount the artists worked together, creating an atmosphere of unity in their show that mirrors Christ-like harmony. Drummer Andrew Nyte and guitarist Jared Buck from Kings Kaleidoscope played for the entirety of Propaganda’s set and Propaganda came on stage to rap during “Playing with Fire” and “Alive.”

a remarkable stillness

The recent songs have shown a shift toward more synthetic means of music production but this has not lead to a decrease in quality. They brought on five featured artists, one of which was Propaganda for the song “Playing with Fire.” After “Beyond Control” showed a glimpse of Gardner’s struggle with anxiety, “The Beauty Between” addressed the topic of racial tension.

The two albums have parallels in tone between a few songs, which was clearly shown as they were played in concert. Kings Kaleidoscope played “Trackless Sea” and “Rain,” both the last track of their respective albums, in succession which served as a reminder that no matter the issue presented in the album, the solution is a solid foundation in Christ and trust in God’s love. The band also played “Playing with Fire” and “A Prayer” in succession, songs which both have a serious tone and depth of emotion to them. “A Prayer” has two distinct parts with silence in between: first, the protagonist asking if God will remain by them in their failings and second, God’s response of deep love, a love that caused him to give his life in exchange for his childrens’. The moment of silence created a remarkable stillness, interrupted only by the quiet sobs of the audience.

As per usual, Kings Kaleidoscope finished with “Defender,” a song worshiping God for salvation and freedom through Christ — a theme clear through the songs of both artists, despite the struggles and tensions they also portray.

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