King King + Rebecca Downes + Emma & The Wolf @ Nantwich Civic Hall – Friday 14th April – Tix £19 no bkg fee.
King King are on a roll. Faced with their army of fans and armfuls of awards, it’s hard to believe that Alan Nimmo (vocals/guitar), Lindsay Coulson (bass), Wayne Proctor (drums) and Bob Fridzema (keys) have come so far, so fast. As Henry Yates of Classic Rock Blues notes, “King King are the hottest draw in British blues-rock”. Yet there’s no smoke and mirrors behind their five-year rise: just killer songs, performed with true passion, by a fist-tight lineup.
Right now, the Glasgow band stand on the brink of their busiest period to date. Fresh from the studio, there’s the hotly anticipated third album, due Spring 2015. On the road, there’s the 34-date UK tour with John Mayall in October 2014, followed by a run of British headline dates next Spring, with plans afoot for wider touring in France, Germany, Scandinavia, and beyond.
In short, there’s no time for group backslaps, even as King King approach the end of a truly vintage year. As a measure of the band’s status, consider their five victories at the 2014 British Blues Awards, not least ‘Best Band’ (for a third consecutive year) and ‘Best Album’ for 2013’s ‘Standing In The Shadows’. Add to that, the inclusion of Shadows in both the Classic Rock Blues Mag’s Top 50 Albums of 2013, and Paul Jones’ BBC Radio 2 end-of-year countdown (the only British album in the running), and it’s raining statuettes.
Media plaudits are always welcome, but perhaps the most tangible evidence that King King are doing something right are the audiences who roared them to the rafters throughout 2014. While their records were spinning on stereos across the world, King King’s tourbus wheels were doing the same, as the band took the international language of blues-rock to fans in France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Germany (not to mention a set at the Crossroads Festival, filmed for the legendary music TV show Rockpalast). Nice planet. They’ll take it…
It’s quite a coup, in an era when we’re told that honest, dues-paying rock ‘n’ roll is on the ropes. But then, ever since their live debut shook the Monaghan Blues Festival back in 2010, it was obvious there was something special about King King. Of course, Alan was already a familiar face on the international blues circuit – having made his name with The Nimmo Brothers – while Lindsay, Wayne and original keys man Bennett Holland were all first-choice musicians with pedigree and past-form.
Yet critically, whereas many talented lineups become a tug-of-war between egos, King King soon hit on a winning dynamic, with Alan and Lindsay co-writing the original material and proving their studio alchemy with 2011’s debut album, ‘Take My Hand’. Dubbed “tremendous… terrific” by Maverick Magazine, crowned Blues Album of the Month in Classic Rock, and ultimately scoring the band’s first British Blues Award for ‘Best Album’, it was one hell of an opening gambit – only topped by the release of Standing In The Shadows in March 2013.
While lesser bands complain of ‘difficult second album syndrome’, this was a follow-up that bottled King King’s jaw-breaking live power, while underlining Alan and Lindsay’s evolving writing partnership on tracks from the tough ‘More Than I Can Take’ to the tender ‘A Long History Of Love’. The Classic Rock Blues Mag deemed it “a sure-fire hit”, and they were proved right, with demand for King King pulling the new lineup – now bolstered by Bob’s astonishing prowess on keys and organ – from Eastern Europe to Canada, for house-rocking sets that included the Ottawa and Mont Tremblant Blues Fests and a live appearance on Canadian breakfast TV show Canada AM.
With King King, the soundbites and statistics only tell half the story. For conclusive proof of this band’s brilliance, you need only play the music. In 2015, Alan, Lindsay, Wayne and Bob will be pulling the trigger on a stunning new studio album, and launching into a continent-hopping tour schedule that means there’s never been a better time to experience their magic from the front row. King King are moving fast. Catch them if you can…