Kings of Belmont
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Kings of Belmont

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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Five Kings equal a full house"

"They’re headlining Fridays After Five tonight and are slated for FloydFest this summer, but they’re not above playing a friend’s birthday party, as they did last weekend.

“We make every concert a special occasion,” says drummer John Spagnolo.

They cite influences ranging from the Grateful Dead and Rush to Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine, but invariably they demur when asked to pin down their specific sound. Guitarist Ross van Brocklin’s comment: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

But there’s one thing the Kings of Belmont are more than happy to lock down, and that name just might have given it away: They do love playing in Charlottesville. “The great thing about the music scene,” says Max Collins, who, like van Brocklin, plays guitar, sings and serves as songwriter, “is that people just will come out … There’s enough for everybody.”

“Charlottesville is pretty unique,” Spagnolo adds. “People in Charlottesville should be really proud of what is here as far as music scene goes. It’s hard to find such a well-supported music scene.”

And the Kings of Belmont, which also consists of Aaron Ahlbrant on keyboards and Chris Coleman on bass, is quickly rising to the forefront of that scene on the strength of “Sway,” the band’s hummable, hook-ridden LP (recorded, naturally, here in town), as well as tell-your-friends shows at Orbit or IS.

“Our sound guy, Mike Bullock, is really the sixth member of the band,” Collins asserts of those performances.

But before there were six members, or even five, there were two. Ahlbrant and van Brocklin dubbed themselves Kings in a basement in the neighborhood whose name they borrowed. Then, in a power-sharing move rare for nobility, they expanded to include Collins and Spangnolo and, eventually, Coleman.

The result, solidified in 2007, is a five-man band that clearly delights in running the gamut from country to power-chord hair rock to synth-y jam-outs (also proudly listed under influences: Phish, Guns & Roses and Radiohead). And it all goes down better with a sense of humor.

“William Shatner is going bowling,” begins “Git r Done,” a playful, twangy ode to having fun and getting wasted, which clocks in at less than three minutes. “Let’s not overanalyze this,” they admonish.

And on “Play for Free,” the band says that if “you wanna have a party and you want it to rock / you wanna get the best, but you ain’t got the bucks,” then they’re your men.

They’re not even shy about joking about that other “Kings of” band:

“There was a show,” van Brocklin remembers with a laugh, “and someone was running around telling everyone that the Kings of Leon were playing at Orbit.” Not so.

“This is unconfirmed, but we might have even ripped off their flier,” he adds. “Being the king of Belmont is obviously better than being the king of Leon.”

Spagnolo agrees: “‘I’m the king of some dude named Leon’ — what is that?”

“Now we need to learn ‘Freebird’ and ‘Sex on Fire,’ ” Collins says, though he doesn’t sound too keen on the idea.

Some subjects the musicians don’t joke about, though — such as their future, their label prospects and what keeps them going.

“Our next thing is we’re recording more music in the studio, and that’s our focus right now,” says Spagnolo. “You know, if a label came walking in, we’d look at ’em and see if they gave us a good deal.”

“We’re realistic,” van Brocklin nods. “We’re not going to go knocking on doors for it. We’re not doing this for money. We’re doing this because we love it.”

Collins, though, speaks with more confidence: “At practice, you know, where the audience is zero, I can close my eyes and see us playing in front of thousands of people …

“It’s gonna happen with the Kings of Belmont. It’s gonna happen naturally, and to try to jump into it too quickly would be sort of selling the fans short, because we’re almost at that point where we deserve some real recognition. We’re just about to break through to that level.”

One thing is for certain: When that day comes and they’re out there in the stratosphere of rock ’n’ roll fame, this is one band that won’t forget where it came from. - The Daily Progress


Kings of Belmont - (self titled CD) 2008

Git r Done - regional radio
Beg For More - regional radio



The Kings of Belmont were conceived when Ross van Brocklin and Aaron Ahlbrandt teamed up as a guitar/keyboard duo in the basement of Ross house in Charlottesville, VA. In the heart of the Belmont neighborhood, they began generating their diverse take on contemporary rock and soon began landing gigs around Charlottesville. As their popularity grew and their music evolved, Ross and Aaron yearned for the powerful sound of a full band. Max Collins and John Spagnolo, having played with Ross and Aaron in a previous band, were quick to jump at the opportunity to join the project. The Kings then tapped childhood friend Chris Coleman on bass to round out the group.

The well-established bonds of their friendship allowed The Kings of Belmont to meld together quickly as a band, and their diverse range allowed them the flexibility to explore and express just the right sound without being constrained within a specific genre or style. Whether its rock or country or hip-hop or jams, you will find it woven into the sound of The Kings of Belmont.

The Kings of Belmont thrive off performing live and their shows have been described as anything but predictable. While the set lists and song arrangements vary from show to show, the one constant is the energy of the band. This energy is matched by their loyal fans that come to each show prepared to lay it all out. The dynamic is intense, infectious and will make you want more.