King King with special guests Hatfitz and Cara
Wednesday 6th May 2015
The Jazz Café, Camden, London, United Kingdom
Several of my friends had told me that there was this blues band on the live circuit called King King and they are fantastic live. They had opened for blues legend John Mayall on his extensive UK tour in 2014 and received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. So when a special album launch show for their third release ‘Reaching for the Light’ was announced at The Jazz Café I decided to attend with my friend Kieran so I could experience a King King live show first hand.
Before their set we were treated to the vintage sound of Manhaton Records label mates Hatfitz and Cara Robinson who opened the evening with their rough around the edges but at the same time elegant sound. Opener ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ saw Hatfitz display his electric slide guitar skills alongside Cara’s drumming. ‘I Get By’ sounded like a track from the soundtrack from the film ‘O’ Brother Where Art Thou?’ whilst ‘Shakedown’ was essentially an Irish jig (Cara is from Northern Ireland). For ‘Wildways’ Cara got out her washboard and told us a tale about when she made contact with a gypsy in Northern Ireland who had bulging eyes. In addition to the drumkit, Cara is also an accomplished flute player as closer ‘Power’ proved. If you like Imelda May or Seasick Steve then this duo are probably up your street.
King King took to the stage to rapturous applause as the four-piece arrived. Lead vocalist and guitar player Alan Nimmo appeared in his signature tartan kilt (the band are based in Glasgow, Scotland) and told the audience ‘My mammy’s in the audience. So no swearing!’ Album opener ‘Hurricane’ roared out of Alan’s silver Fender Telecaster as Lindsay Coulson on bass and Wayne Proctor let the audience know that King King were in the building. Not only is Alan Nimmo a technically skilled guitarist but he is also a very rich singer who really echoes the sound of Paul Rodgers in his tone and delivery (mainly around the Free era). ‘Long History of Love’, a track taken from one of their previous albums, allowed Bob Fridzema loose on the Hammond Organ and really had a Paul Carrack feel (on later inspection of the new album it appeared that they recorded a Paul Carrack song ‘Just A Little Lie’.
‘You Stopped the Rain’, also from the new album is an extremely catchy song which sounds like it’s out of a romantic comedy film and shows that King King are accomplished songwriters. However, the line ‘I can lose this feeling in my head. There’s more to me, than a litre of regret’ from ‘Waking Up’ is absolute lyrical genius. Yet the industry gives Ivor Novello’s to Will I am for ‘Worldwide stadium tours, I am the future Delorean doors.’ I don’t know…
Alan Nimmo’s homage to Frankie Miller on ‘Jealousy’ was pure vocal class and Eric Clapton’s ‘Old Love’ from their debut album Take My My Hand was well played and well-handled during the guitar solo when a few people were talking. Closing with ‘All Your Life’ and ‘Let Love In’ you felt that this two hour set was value for money and venues like The Jazz Café will unfortunately be a think of the past for this act on this form with this collection of fantastic songs. This is an act that needs to be seen live to really appreciate the full King King experience. Also they are a lovely bunch of guys who love what they do and the fans around the world that support them.
Words: Glenn Sargeant
Visuals: John Bull
King King’s third album ‘Reaching for the Light’ is out now on Manhaton Records. They will be embarking on a 19-date UK tour in the autumn at the following venues:
Wednesday 21st October- Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton on Trent
Thursday 22nd October- The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
Friday 23rd October- Public Halls, Harpenden
Saturday 24th October- The Wharf, Tavistock
Sunday 25th October- The Copper Rooms, Coventry
Tuesday 27th October- The Old Fire Station, Carlisle
Thursday 29th October- Picturedrome, Holmfirth
Friday 30th October- The Grand, Clitheroe
Saturday 31st October-Rothes Hall, Glenrothes
Sunday 1st November- Fibbers, York
Tuesday 3rd November- Realtime Live, Chesterfield
Wednesday 4th November- Fruit, Hull
Friday 6th November-Cheese and Grain, Frome
Saturday 7th November-Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham by Sea
Wednesday 11th November- O2 Academy Islington, London
Thursday 12th November- Artrix, Bromsgrove
Friday 13th November- Waterside Arts Centre, Sale
Saturday 14th November- The Platform, Morecambe
Sunday 15th November- Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
For tickets visit: www. http://www.thegigcartel.com/artists/profile:436
For more information about King King visit: www.kingking.co.uk
(I would like to thank Kieran White, John Bull, Peter Noble and Asher Alexander at Noble PR for help with this review)