Tuesday 29th November 2016
Islington Assembly Halls, London
The Assembly Halls in Islington remind me of school assembly, funnily enough. The typical school stage and parquet flooring brought back visions of hymn practice and exams. Thankfully, this venue also has a bar, a sound engineers pit and a circle balcony so any fears of detention were quickly allayed.
Our support act for the night was none other than Broken Witt Rebels. Looking both young and trendy, they fitted perfectly with the venue with their popular brand of Blues Rock, with a hint of Kings of Leon about them. The Brummie quartet are in the middle of a UK tour, both as support for King King and Joanne Shaw Taylor, and as headliners in their own right. I can see why.
This was a gig that may not have happened. King King’s Alan Nimmo has been suffering problems with his voice which led to the postponement of a couple of shows until early 2017. Following work with a vocal coach to build strength and stamina to aid his recovery, Alan took to the stage with some trepidation. He needn’t have worried. His voice may not have had it’s full power, but it was plenty strong enough.
Looking like a baby faced Geoff Capes, with his tartan kilt, work boots, and fat Strat held in hand like some medieval axe, he could have been a terrifying vision from the battle of Bannockburn. Instead, he merely slayed the Sassenach with his killer licks. Ably supported by Lindsay Coulson on bass, Wayne Proctor on drums and the amazing Dutchman Bob Fridzema on Hammond Organ and keyboards, Mr Nimmo and crew showed why they are no strangers to awards in the world of Blues. In footballing terms ‘he’s got a good touch for a big man’ with intricate fretboard skills and digital dexterity to shame the shredders but with the feel and flavour demanded of such soulful music. Here is a man playing from his heart, openly displayed for all to see, showcased wonderfully with his dedication to his convalescing mother of ‘You Stopped the Rain’.
The set had it’s problems – Lindsay’s bass decided to misbehave during ‘More Than I Can Take’ and Alan struggled to keep his voice together for the full set – but he still produced a more orotund output than many fully healthy throats can manage. But overall, a loving audience were again treated to the best Blues in town. High gain soloing, smooth rhythms, intricate ivory tinkling on the Hammond Organ and full on power showers – we got the lot. But the cherry on the proverbial Glaswegian cake was the cover of Frankie Millers ‘Jealousy. An oft covered song, played on a Les Paul with no amplification at all. Just our happy host, soloing to a completely silent assembly hall, all ears straining to pick up the last acoustic vibrations of wire and wood. No pins were dropped.
Plaudits and awards are often given, theirs are truly deserved. King King were Ace Ace.
Wait On Time (The Fabulous Thunderbirds cover)
A Long History of Love
More Than I Can Take
You Stopped The Rain
Jealousy (Frankie Miller cover)
Stranger To Love
Let Love In
Mother (pics courtesy of Laurence Harvey)