21st March 2015
Review @ photography by Ritchie Birnie
The multi award winning blues band King King return to Glasgow for a sold out show that turned out to be something special. The penultimate gig of the tour was one they were looking forward too and had a few surprises that left no one disappointed.
The support tonight, Laurence Jones (4/5) is no stranger to awards after picking up the British Blues, young artist of the year award for 2014. Having seen the trio in action for the first time tonight I can confirm that it was not a misplaced accolade. Laurence is a guitarist in the mould of Gary Moore and Robin Trower. This boy is only 21 and when you look at the average age of Blues guitarist and longevity you can tell he has some future ahead of him. He has way too much soul for a kid this age.
He has two albums behind him with the new CD “What’s It Gonna Be” set for a 13th April release date. He was invited to tour with Walter Trout earlier this year with Walter saying “Laurence is a cross between Eric Clapton & Buddy Guy he is a genius”. That is a serious seal of approval and the majority of fans here tonight know of his work already and have been looking forward to this bluesfest double bill for some time.
The short set starts with “Good Morning Blues” and straight away we see the talent and capability of this young man. His complete knowledge of blues guitar is astounding. I am betting Laurence had no time for video games in his youth. Whoever turned this man onto music please take a bow and accept the thanks from a lot of impressed people. We are treated to a beautiful version of “All Along The Watchtower” next. It definitely leans more toward the Bob Dylan version than the Hendrix one. This is slowed right down to accentuate the guitar sound and we see the chemistry between Laurence and” the bass from outer space”. This song was worth the ticket price alone.
“Whisper In The Wind” is a visit to the dark side and shadows of the soul. It is dedicated to anyone who has lost a loved one. A stunning song which was written by Laurence to be played at his Uncle’s funeral. We can all feel the pain in this song and it must be difficult to play night after night, but it is the best possible expression of love and admiration you could ask for. It also means the tribute will live on along with the memories.
We finish up with “Soul Swamp River” which has a real Gary Moore feel and a perfect end to an all too short set. As this goes to press Laurence has just announced an extensive UK headline show for September/October. Sadly there is no Glasgow show but I hope that this will be resolved quickly so I can get the chance to see a full show. After the band left the stage I sat down with a drink in hand and mused that I had seen something very special tonight. I am sure in the future I am going to be very smug saying I saw Laurence at his first ever show in Glasgow.
Good Morning Blues
All Along The Watchtower
Whisper In The Wind
Soul Swamp River
So King King (5/5) had some work to do to top the support band tonight and luckily there was no slacking or complacency in the set. You could see the smiles on the band members’ faces in the knowledge they were home. They soon transferred those wide grins to every one of the audience members (we needed it after the abysmal performance from our national rugby team earlier that day) and we knew we were in for an unforgettable evening.
It is difficult to believe King King have only been on the go since 2010. They do of course have history before this as individuals, but this band is an embryo. I have heard the murmurings of the Nimmo boys for a long time as they were born and bred not 5 miles from my front door in Dumbarton. Maybe it was in the local bars and clubs the word of mouth spread far and wide to the point these local heroes are taking the blues world by storm and not just knocking on the door of the big boys, they are kicking it down with a sizeable pair of Caterpillar boots and an attitude of “what’s next?”.
Well I can tell you what’s next, The new CD “Reaching For The light” and a whole host of new awards (your mum better get a new cabinet Alan). It is not released till May but was on sale at all the venues during the tour. It is a corker boys! You have just laid down a massive marker and a huge part of the stepping stone to stardom.
Now to the live music. The lights dim and we see the now well known site of Alan in his red kilt strut onto the stage and with no further ado break into “Hurricane”. All the woes of the rugby gone, all worries set aside with just a strum of an electric, six string guitar and a perfect voice, entwined in the very roots of the blues itself. We break from a new song to “Don’t You Get The Feeling (You’ve Been Had) from the band’s debut. The packed crowd responds and the band know they are home.”Wait On Time” builds on the blues bliss and takes us to an era of times gone by.
As the show moves along we get the now well cemented set list favourite “Jealousy” with a name check (and town check) to the wonderful Frankie Miller. For me this is a sublime cover. It is note perfect and the voice just tears at the heart strings. I am sure Frankie approves of this version and the passion shown. Another name check is for a fan who travelled all the way from Montreal to be there. That is some dedication. Hi Amir!
As I listen to the new songs and particularly the guitar solo in “Stranger to Love” I get depressed, not for the song or this show but for the fact we have so called music out there the likes of Justin Bieber and One Direction. All those supposed “talent” shows. All those children growing up with music that is churned out instead of being created, being felt, being played live. I know this is unlikely to change and it just makes me all the more grateful to behold a band who epitomise what music means to a lot of people. It is played from the bands heart and you know they feel every note, every key, every beat.
As if the crowd was not hyper enough we have Alan’s brother Stevie take the stage to a massive cheer. Now we are going to see something to behold. These two have some chemistry together and if you have ever seen the nimmo Brothers live you will know what I mean. The fun also kicks off big time. They are well known for liking a bit of a laugh. They swap instruments, play each others guitars at the same time and rumour has it at one of the guys weddings they asked the wedding band if they could play guitars for a bit (the band did not know who they were). Well you can imagine what happened there and how that band managed to go back on stage after a performance from these two I will never know. Both boys play guitar and both sing. I cannot imagine how proud their mother must be, she should take a massive bow for the talented offspring she has created and the job of support and direction that she has obviously provided.
As we work up to “Old Love” another thing strikes me, the complete absence of mobile phones in the air that accompanies every show these days. It is great to see and very old school. We also see the crowd turning on people who are talking during the quieter, more intimate moments. As we get to the solo this time we see the guitar amp turned way down to the point you can only hear the licks as if unplugged. The whole crowd are silent and the atmosphere is electric. This was a moment I will not forget for a long time.
As we get to the encore and “Let Love In” I am sad and ecstatic all at the same time. Sad it is over, but full of elation that amongst the large amount of concerts I attend there was a complete interaction, an immersion if you wish that made me fall in love with music all over again, real music played by top of their class musicians with their heart, soul and total being put into everything they do. They deserve the awards, the accolades and every slice of fame they get. They have earned it.
If you missed this tour keep your eyes peeled for the return tour in October (no dates announced yet) and keep a look out for the album review on this site shortly.
Don’t you Get The Feeling( You’ve Been Had)
Wait on Time
Moe Than I Can Take
Take My Hand
A Long History Of Love
Jealousy( Frankie Millar Cover)
Stranger To Love
All Your Life
Old Love( Eric Clapton Cover)
Let Love In