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Review: King King – Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Courtesy of Pako Mera

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the King King support act tonight. Broken Witt Rebels recently won the ‘Best Rock Act’ category at the first ever Unsigned Music Awards. This four-piece, who hail from Birmingham, create a ‘southern-soul-meets-Kings-Of-Leon’ kind of noise. Opening with “Low”, they are deafeningly loud. Even with my earplugs in (Don’t roll your eyes, going deaf is not cool) I found the volume uncomfortable. The PA was distorting and bass heavy. Now that my gripes are out the way, I can say lead singer, Danny Core, has an incredible voice. Sounding like a cross between Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson and Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill, he has a huge dollop soul in his voice, and delivers his lyrics with real passion. I honestly had no idea what to expect, as before tonight, I hadn’t heard a single note from Broken Witt Rebels. The music is all about rhythmic groove, but every now and then, we get some terrific lead guitar from James Trantor. Sadly, it’s drowned out by the bass, which is no fault of bassist Luke Davis (who, himself has some fantastic bass lines). It would be rude not to mention drummer James Dudley, who keeps the whole thing together with some solid drumming. Playing their most well-known song, “Georgia Pine”, it’s clear there were more than a few Broken Witt Rebels fans in attendance, and probably a lot of new fans after tonight. Ending with current single, “Guns”, the band had one last chance to give it everything they had. It was a terrific performance, and certainly got the blood pumping. All in all, the band put on a great show, but it was marred, for me at least, by being too loud, and poorly mixed.

Courtesy of Nicki Vinall

Ever since I reviewed their recent live album, I’ve been wanting to see the amazing King King. Having had to cancel a number of shows on this tour, as singer and guitarist Alan Nimmo recovered from throat surgery, it was touch and go as to whether this show, on almost home turf, would go ahead. The crowd lit up as King King make their entrance, Alan Nimmo, wearing his trademark kilt and black shirt, greeted the audience before launching into “Lose Control”. It was the perfect way to start; a rollicking blues rock number to get the party started. The volume was a much more sensible level, and all members of the band were easy to pick out in the mix. Lovely stuff! No sooner than “Lose Control” was over, they are straight into “Wait On Time” for a tasty jump blues. King King are really on form, and despite his recent surgery, Nimmo’s voice sounded superb. The set list was almost a song for song reproduction of their live album, which is no bad thing, but it would’ve been nice if they’d mixed it up a bit. All the highlights were there, including now signature song “Rush Hour”, which has the crowd singing along. Also present was Bob Fridzema’s incredible Hammond organ on “A Long History Of Love”, which simmered nicely under Nimmo’s soaring vocal before breaking out with a sublime solo. It bloomed nicely into one of Alan Nimmo’s many soulful guitar solos. For my money, he’s one of the best on the circuit right now… oodles of tone, and some well-timed phrasing, sitting somewhere between Peter Green and Paul Kossoff. Alan informed us that his wee mammy was too ill to attend the show tonight, but she was watching via Facebook live (The only time that Facebook live would be acceptable, in my opinion), before playing “You Stopped The Rain”. He took quick breaks from playing to wave at the camera with a big smile. Bassist, Lindsay Coulson doubled as a roadie for Alan, helping him to switch between Stratocaster and Les Paul, as well as firmly holding down the low end. It’s a struggle to say anything new compared to my review of their live album, to be honest. King King is a no frills band that focus on playing their best, without the aid of props or gimmicks. And play their best is exactly what they did. There’s a real chemistry to their performance, and it was a joy to be in the same room as them. The party atmosphere continued with “All Your Life”, and had people shouting and dancing along to it’s infectious, funky groove. There were the obligatory band introductions, and more Hammond organ wizardry, before they brought things down with the epic “Stranger To Love”. This smouldering blues number has a real intensity to it, with Nimmo’s guitar solo building from subtle to fiery. The crowd lapped it up, and as they departed, the obligatory cries for an encore were heard all around the hall. King King did not disappoint, and they returned to play “Let Love In”, ending the same way they began, with a party atmosphere. There was just enough time for a final sing along, and the crowd were enthusiastic in their response. I can’t fault King King. If you’ve never heard them, what are you waiting for? Great songs, amazing playing, and a fantastic night out.


Review: Colin Plumb

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