An un-seasonally mild January evening found us heading to Edinburgh’s Queens Hall. On arrival, I questioned if I’d come to the right venue. The Hall is surrounded by scaffolding and safety nets, and looks like a work in progress. My fears were allayed however by the number of King King T-shirts making their way into the local hostelries. It has been a good few years since I attended the Queens Hall, and that was for another big man with a guitar… the Steven Seagal Blues band. Yup, THAT Steven Seagal! Maybe less said, the better.
The hall was filling up nicely when Gerry Jablonski and The Electric Band hit the stage. Seasoned performers, they wasted no time pulling the punters in with their infectious version of blues rock. The banter is kept to a minimum as the band deftly switch between high-octane blues stompers and mellower moments that get the head nodding. A particular highlight was the standout harmonica work of Pete Narojczyk. When he played ‘Amazing Grace’, you could have heard a pin drop. The band were obviously enjoying themselves and Gerry, was a livewire, moving around the stage, throwing shapes whilst playing some sublime guitar… he even managed to pinch a hat from a member of the audience, mid solo, without dropping a note. The band left the stage to huge cheers, and by the number of smiles on faces they gained a fair few new followers tonight.
With the crowd warmed up, AC/DC blasts through the PA and the lights dim, and King King take to the stage. Bassist Lindsay Coulson, and new keyboard player Jonny Dyke, stride on suited and booted, Wayne Proctor slips behind his kit, and then the man himself Alan Nimmo, dressed in customary kilt and T shirt, launches straight into ‘(She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’. Any concerns about Nimmo’s voice after last year’s setback are immediately set to rest. Scotland’s answer to Paul Rodgers is in fine fettle and sounds fantastic. With the plaudits from last years’ Exile & Grace still ringing in their collective ears, King King have a finely balanced setlist made up of new tracks and old favourites. ‘You Stopped The Rain’ starts with an audience call and return, and Nimmo now has the crowd in the palm of his hand, and that’s where they stay for the rest of the show. The momentum never drops, and the standout ‘Rush Hour’ is met with a roar that can be felt in the soles of your feet.
Dedicated to his wife, ‘Stranger To Love’ has Nimmo turning his guitar volume down (off), the band stop, and every ear is straining to catch each perfect note. It’s a strange ploy, but works wonderfully, and as the volume is returned the music soars. It’s a magic moment. King King follow with a funky curve ball before a family member’s recent driving test get a laugh when it’s dedicated to ‘Find Your Way Home’, and all too soon the band file off stage to well deserved cheers from the sell out crowd.
‘Let Love In’ closes the show, and as the lights go back up, there is a question that forms in my mind, and it’s surely shared by many others in attendance. Why on earth is King King not a household name?
Review and Images – Callum Scott