King King, at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Friday 26th January – SOLD OUT. That pretty much sums up everything for this show, but it does make a very short review, so I suppose I better add a bit more information.
For anyone out there who is already a fan of King King then this introduction is superfluous, but if you have yet to discover the band then King King are simply one of the best rock/blues based bands to come out of Scotland in many years, and a combination of old fashioned talent and very good and memorable songs have given the band a loyal fan base far outside Scotland now that many other bands would simply love to have.
King King the band are Alan Nimmo (vocals/guitar), Lindsay Coulson (bass), Jonny Dyke (keys) and Wayne Proctor (drums). This is a slightly altered line up now with Johnny Dyke replacing Bob Fridzema on Hammond organ and keyboards, and I was curious to see and hear the band with this line-up change (as I love the very identifiable sounds of Bob Fridzema’s playing), and if honest a little concerned about how the change might affect the whole King King sound. I am pleased to say, no worries on that score as, although Johnny Dyke has his own sound and musical palette when playing, he fits in seamlessly with the overall sound of the band, and when moving into some of the more soulful and funkier numbers, it is obvious why he is now in the band.
This show was actually re-scheduled from October 2018 when the band were forced to take some time off the road from that tour to allow front man Alan Nimmo to rest and repair his vocal chords. A bit of an inconvenient time for the band as their latest album “Exile & Grace” also had an early October release. The rest has obviously done Alan Nimmo nothing but good as he was on classic form here.
King King are simply one of the tightest bands out there at the moment and Lindsay Coulson (bass) is always there doing nothing flashy on stage, simply keeping a steady bass line whenever needed. Maybe a bit forgotten at times due to the strength of the band members upfront is Wayne Proctor on drums, but it is Wayne’s percussion precision that is not only so much of the sound of King King, but also the thing that allows everyone else in the band to do their jobs without ever having to look behind them and check what is happening.
As a band, King King have built up a solid back catalogue of songs that fans have taken to their hearts, and “Rush Hour” and “Lose Control” were just a few of the crowd pleasers in this 90 minute or so set. From the new album “Exile & Grace”, a new song for our troubled times – “Broken”. Listen to the words folks, this is something that we all have to try and repair in our own way, no matter how small our contribution may be.
King King musically are a great live band, but to be achieving the success that they are currently enjoying, you need to have a little bit extra. There is so much competition out there that talent and great songs are often just not enough, you need that indefinable element, and King King have it …whatever it is. Part of their success is I think that the band so obviously enjoy playing to their audience, and the audience simply enjoy being there listening to them. There is a rare connection between band and audience here and a warm and friendly feeling to a King King concert that makes the evening that little bit special every time that they play.
I reviewed the new album “Exile and Grace” when it was released, and you can read the review here
This album does see the band opening up their music and perhaps moving a little away from their classic rock/blues sound on some numbers, and some die-hard fans might want them to forever stick to their classic sounds. For me, I like the slightly different direction on some songs and as musicians, the band have to have the freedom to explore their music wherever it takes them. Any band that does not constantly evolve runs the risk of becoming stale and a parody of itself. King King have no risk whatsoever of something like that happening to them.
The band have a busy touring schedule and will soon be off to Holland. They will be back in the UK around April/May 2018.
Opening the show tonight, Gerry Jablonski And The Electric Band. My first time with this band, but obvious why King King chose them as support as their high energy rock/blues sound was a big crowd pleaser with tonight’s audience.
The band are Gerry Jablonski – Guitar and vocals, Lewis Fraser – Drums and vocal, Peter Narojczyk – Harmonica, Grigor Leslie – Bass and vocal. Peter has to be one of the most energetic harmonica players that I have seen on stage in a long time.
Always with a band that you have not seen before, you are looking for something unusual, something different to make you remember them, and for me that was Gerry Jablonski fusing blues and classical in a solo (if somewhat speeded up) performance of “Nessun Dorma”. This should not have worked, but it did.
Gerry Jablonski And The Electric Band are fast, full of energy and remind me a lot of the punk bands that I used to go and see so many years ago. Perhaps though as they watch King King working so efficiently at their rock steady pace they will realise that everything does not have to be delivered at such speed - well, unless playing to an audience of the age to keep up with them.
The band are also performing at The Voodoo Rooms on 2nd March 2018 as part of the Edinburgh Blues Club programmes.
Review by Tom King