Gig review: KING KING – Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

KING KING - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

In an even more crowded than ever November gig schedule, it was still important to find time for this enticing double bill of two up and coming bands, both offering a fresh take on blues-influenced rock.

If 2015 was when headliners King King break out of cult status and into the mainstream, 2016 has seen young Brummies Broken Witt Rebels burst out of the starting gate and begin to build a real name for themselves. Making their entry at a rather early 720pm when the crowd was still funnelling in, they nevertheless went down extremely well.

Broken Witt Rebels - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

‘Low’ and ‘Come On Over’ were crisp R’n'B influenced openers, but their biggest selling point is the remarkable vocals of floral-shirted Danny Core. His raw, expressive howl called to mind greats of days past such as Eric Burdon, Joe Cocker and even Roger Chapman, and like them, he seemed to be living out the emotions of the songs, with his facial contortions and falling to his knees.

Broken Witt Rebels - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

Their songs were generally short and snappy, current single ‘Georgia Pine’ getting the best response, but ‘Getaway Man’ allowed rather introverted guitarist James Tranter more freedom, while a new song ‘Bang Bang’ promised much, having a greater variety of tempo than their other material.

Broken Witt Rebels - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

With a sound and image that could see them straddle the classic rock market and a more alternative/indie audience, the future is bright. ‘Guns’ with its catchy ‘Burn Out Like A Cigarette’ chorus has already become their signature song while ‘Shake Me Down’ ended a fast-paced 40 minute set which confirmed their promise.

Broken Witt Rebels - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

As the Assembly Hall, rapidly becoming one of my favourite London venues, filled I was struck that King King have built an older following despite being a relatively new band. I almost felt I had stumbled into a retirement party and a chap next to me was even the spit of Peter Alliss right down to his pastel  jumper.

The London crowd were part of a privileged few to catch them, as the bulk of the winter tour was postponed when mainman Alan Nimmo suffered an inflammation of his vocal cords. He seemed delighted to be back in harness and even more jovial than ever, while despite apologising in advance that he was feeling his way back his voice seemed in pretty good shape and still had most of its trademark smoothness.

King King - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

Opener ‘Lose Control’ had such a Bad Company feel I almost found myself singing the very similar chorus to ‘Honey Child’.  Their cover of the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ ‘Wait On Time’ was more in a trad blues mould, but ‘Waking Up’ showed King King at their best, spacious arrangements with Alan’s soulful vocals and fluent, economical guitar work intertwining with the subtle Hammond organ promptings of his foil, ponytailed Dutchman Bob Fridzema.

King King - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

Both ‘Rush Hour’, which generated a huge cheer, and the mellow ‘Long History of Love’ with the Hammond prominent  were lengthy but never outstayed their welcome or drifted into self-indulgence. ‘More Than I Can Take’ stepped up the pace while ‘Who Stopped The Rain’ was another pleasant number enlivened as Alan took off into a typically mellifluous long solo.

He takes pride in his Glaswegian roots so it was appropriate that he covered a neglected classic by another Glaswegian who mixed rocking blues and soul in Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’, which was a perfect fit.

King King - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

Alan mentioned they were writing for a new album, but none was previewed tonight as they stuck to the tried and tested set. They dipped back into their first album for a funky ‘All Your Life’, the rhythm section of bassist Lindsay Coulson (a rather shadowy looking figure in his suit and shades) and drummer Wayne Proctor contributing to what became an extended jam.

The jewel in the King King crown though was the epic 12 minute set closer ‘Stranger To Love’, in which the band slowed the pace to a virtual standstill, Alan plucking his strings in near silence, before building it up again to a crescendo. As an example of the band’s musical sense of space and dynamics it could not have been bettered.

King King - Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29 November 2016

In contrast the sole encore ‘Let Love In’ had an almost danceable feel on the more R’n’B and soul influenced end of the blues spectrum, with Alan conducting a sing along that even got those in the balcony to their feet, before an early 10 o’clock finish allowed him to rest those vocal cords.

With a new King King chapter about to open, this was a definitive statement of how nicely they have evolved to date, and both they and the Broken Witt Rebels can expect to make further strides in 2017.

Review by Andy Nathan
Photos by Laurence Harvey

KING KING

With Special Guests “Broken Witt Rebels”

2017 UK TOUR DATES

ALL TICKETS: £20.00 / 24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 478 0898

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CARDIFF THE GLOBE
FRIDAY 13 JANUARY 2017

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BOX OFFICE: 0871 220 0260

VENUE TEL: 07590 471 888, EMAIL: enquiries@themjrgroup.com

FACEBOOK / TWITTER

125 ALBANY ROAD, CARDIFF, SOUTH GLAMORGAN, CF24 3NS
THE GLOBE: OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 

FROME CHEESE & GRAIN

SATURDAY 14 JANUARY 2017
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VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01373 455420

BOOK ONLINE: http://www.thegigcartel.com, Cheese & Grain

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MARKET YARD, FROME, SOMERSET, BA11 1BE

http://www.cheeseandgrain.com

NORWICH WATERFRONT

FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2017

TICKETS: £20 / 24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 478 0898

UEA BOX OFFICE: 01603 508 050 / VENUE TEL: 01603 632 717

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139-141 KING STREET, NORWICH, NR1 1QH

http://waterfrontnorwich.webflow.io/

 

SOUTHAMPTON  1865
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4 2017
TICKETS: £20 / 24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 478 0898
BOX OFFICE: 01273 673 311 / BOOK ONLINE:
http://www.thegigcartel.com, See Tickets
VENUE TEL: 023 80 222 605 / EMAIL:
book@the1865.com
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BRUNSWICK SQUARE, SOUTHAMPTON, SO14 3AR
http://www.the1865.com

 

EXETER PHOENIX
SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2017

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VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01392 667080

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BRADNINCH PLACE, GANDY STREET, EXETER, EX4 3LS

http://www.exeterphoenix.org.uk

 

BRIGHTON OLD MARKET

FRIDAY 3 MARCH 2017

TICKETS: £20 / 24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 478 0898
VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01273 201 801
BOOK ONLINE:
http://www.thegigcartel.com, TOM’S BOX OFFICE
FACEBOOK, TWITTER
11-A UPPER MARKET STREET, HOVE, BN3 1AS
http://theoldmarket.com/whats-on/

 

BILSTON ROBIN 2 

SATURDAY MARCH 4 2017

TICKETS: £20 / 24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 0844 478 0898

BOOK ONLINE: thegigcartel.com, ROBIN 2
VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01902 401 211

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20-28 MOUNT PLEASANT, BILSTON, WOLVERHAMPTON, WV14 7LJ

http://www.therobin.co.uk


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