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Killakoi @ The Underground

By Kris Engelhart
When most people think of places with a strong local music scene, they
usually think of cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville.
Don’t get me wrong, those cities are great but let’s not forget that
right here in Charlotte, North Carolina there is a thriving music
community and a lot of bands that are doing great things. One of the
bands really making a statement here in the Queen City is the four piece
hard rockers of Killakoi. The band was formed by three friends and
students, since turned teachers, of a local music school and have been
playing together for years. With Jordan Mattacchione on lead vocals and
guitar, Robbie Reimer on lead guitar, and Sam Ocheltree on bass,
Killakoi was born. Joining them on their mission to rock is drummer
Michael Russo and the four of them together have come up with something
pretty special.

The band is fresh off tour dates with 10 Years and Nonpoint and this
past Saturday they headlined their debut EP Release Party at The
Underground to a sold out crowd of fans, family, and friends. The new
EP “Pangea” features six original hard rock tunes featuring a variety of
influences from grunge to metal to pop. The excitement level in the
venue was over the top as the stage screen lifted and Killakoi kicked
off their set with the title track from the EP “Pangea.” The band
sounded tight and the crowd was eating it up. They have a strong stage
presence for such a young band as they rocked their way through a solid
set. Jordan Mattacchione was front and center commanding the stage from
the start while bassist Sam Ocheltree hammered down the bass lines with
comfort and ease. Unfortunately, Jordan was nursing an ill timed sore
throat but assured the audience that he would still give it everything
he had and that’s exactly was he did. The intensity level was high as
the band went all out for a cover of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”
Drummer Michael Russo was rock solid behind the kit driving the pace all
night while Robbie Reimer provided the blistering leads. Their set list
was a nice mix of originals and covers with Something Clever vocalist
Adam Nelson joining Killakoi for the Bullet For My Valentine song “All
These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)”. Mattacchione mentioned that
they had a few surprises in store for the crowd the first of which was a
nicely done dubstep song followed by “Psychosocial,” a Slipknot song.
For this song, Killakoi brought out young students from Rock University
where they now teach to perform on guitar and a lot of drums including
Slipknot style 55 gallon drums. The students were in their glory
getting to be on stage and perform for the sold out crowd and the venue
absolutely exploded with intense energy. This was a very nice gesture
from the band giving a shout out to where they came from and helping
prepare the future generation of rockers. “Government Plastic” was up
next which happens to be my favorite track from “Pangea.” It’s an
impassioned and fiery track that really makes you want to jump up and
take action. The band closed out the evening with “Ripple,” a more
melodic rocker that was a perfect way to cap off the evening.

Who’s say rock is dead? It’s alive and kicking right here in Charlotte
and Killakoi is leading the charge. You can expect to hear a lot more
from this talented band in the very near future.