Gig review: KING KING – Jazz Cafe, London, 6 May 2015

KING KING - Jazz Cafe, London, 6 May 2015

These are good times for King King. The band sits at the top of the blues charts with ‘Reaching For The Light’ and this official album launch comes right in the middle of a hugely successful tour.

They’ve sharpened their chops, honed their material and crafted a show that takes us up, down and sideways from the opening single ‘Hurricane’ to the show-stopping cover of Clapton’s ‘Old Love’.

The career upswing is cannily reflected in the contrasting title of their last two albums, ‘Standing In The Shadows’ and ‘Reaching For The Light’. Their live set bristles with confidence and sparkles every time Alan Nimmo hits a big solo or attacks a booming chorus with gusto.

And while the kilted Nimmo is the natural focal point, the band supports him magnificently with three part harmonies and sumptuous fills on a number of deep grooves that enables Alan to stand at the lip of the stage and fire off his incendiary solos.

KING KING - Jazz Cafe, London, 6 May 2015

Where once there was a band that worked hard to find an equilibrium based on a subtle mix of rock, blues, soul and ballads, there now stands an outfit that can take on all-comers with a live set and an inherent flow that draws the audience into their own material.

When they finally stretch out deep into the set on the clap-along ‘All Your Life’, they push the groove to bursting point before Alan’s solo resolution cuts through the song like the proverbial knife through butter.

There’s also a discernible Texas feel to the material, notably on the cover of the Fab T Birds shuffle ‘Wait On Time’ and their own heavyweight uplifting rocker ‘Waking Up’.

KING KING - Jazz Cafe, London, 6 May 2015

Alan’s piercing solo and soulful phrasing brings real heft to the chorus and provides the evening with its defining moment. The smouldering, slow building soulful rocker has a delightful melodic organ riff and makes good use of space and intricate dynamics. The tight rhythm section of drummer Wayne Proctor and bassist Lindsay Coulson subtly push the groove, leaving Alan to make the most of a pregnant pause to give full vent to the chorus.

There’s a nod toward his Celtic roots on a cover of Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’. It’s an oft covered song that he makes his own via another big solo and a passionate vocal into which he pours all his emotion.

KING KING - Jazz Cafe, London, 6 May 2015

Perhaps the most significant thing tonight is they way the new songs resonate loud and clear. So while the soulful ballad ‘A Long History of Love’ features Bob Fridezma on organ and finds Alan playing with real swagger, the undulating funk and beautiful ascending guitar solo of ‘You Stopped The Rain’ is the kind of song that will take King King to the next level.

The deeply soulful ‘Take A Look’ builds incrementally and is a vocal tour de force and by the time of Clapton ‘Old Love’, it’s show time with a mid-song drop-down to complete silence, before Alan breaks the tension with a concluding solo that brings the band a deserved ovation.

KING KING - Jazz Cafe, London, 6 May 2015

There’s nothing like home grown band to restore our belief in passionately played blues-rock that makes an essential connection with the crowd and sends the fans home with a smile on their face and a CD in their pocket.

On the evidence of tonight’s show, King King are set to become royalty for more than just the lifespan of one album.

Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by John Bull
Rockrpix Live Music Images

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 19:00

Album review (Reaching For The Light)




 

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