King Youngblood kicks off our new First Friday After Party series this March with an energetic set focused on reclaiming rock music, specifically black-fronted rock packed with strong songwriting, Afropunk attitude and an undeniable exhilarating live show.
Alternative Press calls King Youngblood “Seattle’s Alt Rock Princes” due to their sound that grabs heavy guitar/drum-based rock music by the collar and drags it into the willing arms of a new generation of fans currently fueling the world-wide resurgence of rock music. According to AfroPunk Magazine, “King Youngblood’s skill at transforming a small phrase into a massive hook is at this point unparalleled in the world of heavy music.”
Highlights of their career so far are high six-figure streaming numbers for their singles “Yakubian Antics” and “Too Late Too Soon” and a performance at a Seattle Seahawks game for 68,000 fans. Their song “Thousand Songs” premiered on noncommercial Seattle’s KEXP 90.3 FM. Explains frontman Cameron Lavi-Jones, “A Thousand Songs is an acknowledgment of how far we’ve come, an acknowledgment of where we know we are going, and much bigger than that, an invitation for folks to join us along the way, cause, you know, it’s all about this journey right?”
Lavi-Jones is also a second-generation Black/Jewish activist whose father, activist, and producer Maurice Jones Jr., was a member of the Black Panther Party and is the Program Manager at the community radio station, KVRU FM servicing South Seattle (the city’s most diverse district). Lavi-Jones spent the 2020 Covid-Pandemic summer writing songs and actively protesting within his Black Lives Matter community. He staged an epic teach-in called “This Ain’t No Picnic” on the steps of the Seattle Police Department’s 12th precinct and memorialized it with “Yakubian Antics” (which scored best song and video of 2020 by Afropunk magazine).
Beyond social justice activism, King Youngblood is openly and deeply involved with youth mental health issues having formed their own non-profit Hold Your Crown, in partnership with the King County Washington Mental Health Court and Pacific Northwest’s SMASH, working to break the stigma around youth mental illness. This is from the same band, who in the fall of November 2018 and again in 2020, received grants from the League of Women Voters to perform at over 80 high schools, registering over 3,200 new voters in 2018 and reaching over 100,000 young voters via online shows and promotions in 2020.
Through the music of King Youngblood, Lavi-Jones and his compatriots have boldly declared that un-ironic, melodic rock’n’roll continues to stand tall as a vibrant medium of cathartic self-expression. Simply put, King Youngblood crafts beautifully crisp, deeply soulful, and elegantly strong songs.