The show at London’s Koko got off to a storming start with the whirling dynamo that is Sari Schorr giving one of her trademark dynamic performances. Backed by her four-piece band Schorr warmed up the crowd for her Manhaton Records label-mates.
The atmosphere was charged and the merch table had done brisk business, looking at the number of audience members freshly adorned with King King tees.
King King’s walk on music was AC/CD’s “Highway to Hell”, the crowd knew it and were singing along in anticipation. When the band strutted onto the stage singer/guitarist Alan Nimmo pumped his fists and led the audience in the singalong.
“Hello London, Thanks for coming out. Are you ready? Hell yeah!” proclaimed Nimmo before kicking off with “Broken” from the band’s fourth studio album. The fans not only had been buying the t-shirts but also learning the words. King King’s success is down to strong material, superbly performed. The songs are catchy, well-written and sometimes anthemic.
Led by the fearsome figure of Alan Nimmo in a kilt, this outfit is a formidable one, with awesome powerhouse drumming from Wayne Proctor, rock solid bass from Lindsay Coulson and, Jonny Dyke with the magic ingredient for any blues band, the Hammond organ.
This is the band’s tenth anniversary tour and one that marks the last few performances of founder member and bassist Coulson, who is quitting after the tour as the band has signed to Siren Artist Management Inc and Coulson says he can’t commit to the “extensive global touring” this will entail.
In a blistering set lasting approaching two hours, the group played 14 numbers, four from the latest “Exile” album, six from 2015’s “Reaching For The Light”, three from the 2011 debut “Take My Hand” and a solitary track from the 2013 “Standing in the Shadows”.
King King songs follow a winning formula, heavy blues beat with drums and bass, powerful, passionate vocals, superb guitar solos from Nimmo and a healthy dose of Hammond organ from Dyke.
“Lose Control” led into the crowd favourite “Rush Hour” and another singalong. A few numbers in Nimmo dedicated “Coming Home to the memory of the recently departed Scottish drummer Ted McKenna.
Strong song followed strong song and the audience lapped it up. This was a brilliant performance with no let up, the occasional dip in tempo but not in temperature.
The band finished with two tracks from the band’s debut album, the title track “Take My Hand” and “Old Love” dedicated to Coulson by Nimmo who said it was going to be “strange playing in the future without this guy who founded this band with me ten years ago. He’s like a brother to me and I have known and played with him for twenty years”.
“Old Love” was an extraordinary end to a special show. Nimmo taking another extended solo, this time taking it right down to an unamplified whisper with the audience holding its collective breath to hear him better. And boy was he worth hearing. A master guitarist with a personality to match his fine frame.
If you like your blues rocky, loud, rhythmical and faultless then King King is your band.
Words and Live Photos by Chaz Brooks