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King King + Laurence Jones

Thursday 5th March 2015

The Borderline, London

The perfect foil for one another, Laurence all youthful effervescence and ebullience and Alan Nimmo, the seasoned campaigner and master of his craft.

Laurence gets better with every performance and tonight he has nudged the bar higher and when he takes to the stage now he exudes confidence, such confidence tonight that he opened the set with a couple of pile drivers from his forthcoming album. Swiftly followed by the true Blues tones of Lead Belly’s Good Morning Blues, hard edged chops abounded. If that was an impressive start what followed startled in its talent and execution. Laurence’s white hot rendition of All Along the Watchtower, thundering riffs and gigantic reverbed and distorted solo. Down a notch for the lament of Whisper in the Sky, slow-burn torn down Blues in tribute to recently deceased Uncle. Then right back on the gas for the soulful grooves of Fall From the Sky and the hard rocking Moving the House. Teaming up with bass master technician Roger Inniss and Meri Miettinen on drums and you have just about the perfect Blues trio. Cue ovation 1.

Headliners King King exploded from the traps on the hammerhead riffs of the muscular Hurricane ripped straight from the forthcoming album Reaching for the Light. By the time the band played the flashing blade funk of More Than I Can Take they were in full flight. Lindsay Coulson pulsing out swaggering bass lines, Wayne Procter pounding out the drum sequences and Bob Fridzema swirling hands on the Hammond and Piano.

Long History of Love signalled the first opportunity to draw breath for both band and crowd but not for long as Fridzema and then Nimmo weaved intricate patterns on two stunning solos. The riff ravenous Take My Hand raised the temperature a few degrees before the band slipped in to a new but instant live favourite, Stranger to Love, a slow flickering ember of a tune with a real classic Free vibe running through it. The soulful rasped Nimmo vocal laid over clipped hard licks before the main man teased out another melting solo.

And so to set closer, the stunning epic sonic soundscape of Clapton’s Old Love. Literally centred on Alan’s monumental 10 minute solo that started like rolling thunder, loud and proud chord runs then the sweet delicate sounds of a shower of single notes as Nimmo took the volume down to zero and etched dexterous patterns before the storm and volume returned to take the show to its zenith. As I watched from my position mere feet from the stage during the solo I could see in fine detail Nimmo’s right hand deftly plucking the strings with the pick and the left hand caressing and bending the strings and all the while rivulets of perspiration flowing down the body of the Fender falling to the floor, mesmeric stuff. Ovation 2. Time for a richly deserved encore and the cue for some audience participation, synchronised handclaps and a call and refrain chorus of the driving rocker More Than I Can Take. Ovation 3!

Laurence Jones and the mighty King King; that gents was a privilege to behold and sleep still feels a day away.

Nigel Foster

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