Manhaton Records 2045
The Best of British Blues-Rock in All It’s Glory.
To some degree I can point you to my review of King King’s gig at Sage Gateshead a couple of nights prior to the recording of this double Live CD (TRIPLE LP!), as the set list is pretty much the same; but….on this recording there is a definite added bite to the audience’s responses and of course the way singer/guitarist Alan Nimmo interacts with them is extra special and even more passionate and appreciative than normal; which is why it was recorded in his home town of Glasgow, Scotland at the O2 ABC on 14th May 2016
The gig opens with Nimmo noodling on the guitar before laughing…. “You came! Jump up and doon and make some noise…eh?”
As if they needed reminding!
The set opens with a tight and audacious version of Lose Control, which comfortably sets the tone for the next couple of hours.
What I especially love about King King, is that while frontman Alan Nimmo is one Hell of an extraordinary lead guitarist and has a voice just made for Blues Rock, this band are much more about ‘the songs’ than just making noise via numerous fiddly egocentric solos.
Don’t get me wrong, each individual here can play their chosen instrument to the nth degree; but they allow everything to breathe and let the words tell the stories.
As they take a (fast) stroll through their ever maturing back catalogue, songs like Lose Control, All Your Life and Let Love In, which closes the evening ,more than hold their own with tracks from the latest album, Reaching For The Light. All three songs have evolved with the band over the last 5 or 6 years, and are now staples on the set-list, and I don’t think any have sounded better and more ‘exciting’ than on this recording….and I’ve seen the band 5 times.
There aren’t any real surprises here for long time fans; as the set pretty much revolves around Reaching For The Light; but this is certainly the sound of a band approaching the height of their game and developing their very own distinctive ‘sound’.
What should attract new fans though, is the diversity of songs on offer; Nimmo has never sounded finer than on Rush Hour; which sees the be-kilted one drawing from somewhere deep inside his soul to steer it clear of becoming a ‘power ballad;’ and it has to be said his guitar playing actually sizzles at times in between choruses.
If you are new to King King, don’t think they are a typical ‘one-trick pony’ by any stretch of the imagination. What makes them way above the average, is the powerhouse backbone of Wayne Proctor on drums and Lindsay Coulson on bass, coupled with the judicial use of Bob Fridzema on keyboards (organ in the most!) combining to create a ‘sound’ that is just ‘different’…..and ‘different’ in a good way.
Try listening to the funky All Your Life or A Long History of Love to hear Fridzema and Nimmo intertwine their instruments to create a noise that the Angels would be proud of; and the songs themselves ain’t too shabby either.
It’s always going to be difficult to cherry pick songs from a sublime show like this, but I’ve kept coming back to their beautiful rendition of the Glaswegian legend Frankie Miller’s Jealousy. Honestly it is actually spine tingling in intensity and the fans go mental at the end….which was the same at Sage Gateshead.
The other is Alan’s love song to his brother Stevie Nimmo, who was acting as his guitar tech that night and you can hear the passion in every word and note coming from his throat all the way through. The back story to the song is well worth hunting out, by the way.
There is a lot less chat between songs here than when I’ve seen the band; but I presume that is less to do with editing and more with trying to cram as much music into the concert as possible; and that omission makes this a rarity for a live album; it bares repeated listening!
If you are a fan of Rory Gallagher, Bad Company, Thin Lizzy, Stone the Crows et al, you are going to love this album and even if you’re not….you will any-ways.
PS there is also a Live DVD available too recorded at The Picturedome, Holmfirth, Yorkshire.
Released 21st October 2016