Monday, March 23, 2015

King King - O2 ABC2, Glasgow, 21 March 2015

So you’re having a party in the house, and this brickie turns up along with some other mates.  Looks like he’s had a couple of liveners, but just enough to enjoy the craic.  He’s barely in the door when he spots something in a corner of your living room.  “Hey, that a guitar?  Ya beezer!”   He picks it up - and proceeds to bring the house down.
Okay folks, I plead guilty; it’s a shocking stereotype.  Alan Nimmo is a big burly guy, but I know diddly squat about him personally - he could be teetotal and not know one end of a brick from the other for all I know.  And King King are not just Alan Nimmo’s sidemen, they are very much a
Alan Nimmo - "Hey, you talking' about me?"
Pic courtesy of Ian Martin
band, all four of them contributing to a magnificent sound, and now sharing equally in songwriting credits.  But let me explain.
On the low stage of the O2 ABC2 in Glasgow, I can just about see the heads of drummer Wayne Proctor and keyboard player Bob Fridzema.  Stage left, Lindsay Coulson on bass is Mr Cool in smart jacket and shades, swaying to the rhythm.  But centre stage is Alan Nimmo, in a t-shirt and his trademark kilt, visually very much the cutting edge of their line-up as he kicks in with an effortless blend of rhythm and lead guitar, and his warm, Paul Carrack-like vocals – the latter complemented, it has to be said, by excellent harmonies from Fridzema and Proctor.  As a front man, moreover, Nimmo is engaging, down to earth and humorous, without ever making a big deal out of it.
Their set draws on both their first two albums, and also includes a few new songs from their soon-here third album, Reaching For The Light.  But this isn’t going to be a blow by blow account of the show, save to say that ‘Long History Of Love’ lives up to expectations as one of my absolute favourite songs of recent years, and the new material fits in seamlessly.
What is most marked about King King is the groove that they develop.  Individual songs may be great but, whether they are originals or covers, in a way that’s not the point. Collectively they serve something bigger – a sound that is earthy, soulful, and full of dynamics.  In the live setting of a hometown gig the audience interaction introduces an extra current of electricity, but you can still lose yourself in the feeling when now and then they fashion a rolling, repeated refrain that Nimmo weaves his way around vocally and on guitar.
Tonight there is a homecoming bonus as Stevie Nimmo takes to the stage to trade guitar and vocal spots with his younger brother on the closing numbers, capping the main set with the excellent ‘Old Love’.
As intimate as the ABC2 is, King King should be playing bigger halls than its 350 capacity, because more people deserve to enjoy their performance.  Sooner rather than later, hopefully.

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