The UKs number 1 blues band King King are on somewhat of a roll and are currently celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a 10 date tour of England and Scotland.
I caught up with the Scotland based band when they hit The Old Fire Station in the University town of Bournemouth on England’s south coast.
It was an early start on a wet Friday night in February with doors opening at 18:30 and the first band on just a short time after. This was met with a little disdain when announced but the early start was necessary to facilitate a 10pm curfew to allow the venue to be setup for a student night. Curfews such as this are not uncommon for venues in university towns and city’s and all part and parcel of businesses maximizing their revenues and utilization the available space the best they can.
This did not deter the fans though and they queued up in their droves for a night a fine blues music.
First up on the bill was Brooklyn NY based blues singer Sari Schorr. It was a job to tell how many people were familiar with the music of Miss Schorr but Sari undoubtedly won some more fans with her gritty, ballsy powerhouse vocals and full rocky blues band backing her. A slightly different line-up for tonight’s show with regular Ash Wilson & Bob Firdzema notable absentees. The absence of the Sari Schorr band stalwarts did not detract from the performance one bit and Sari and the band plowed through 8 songs at a pace with 7 of the numbers form Sari’s latest body of work Never Say Never.
The venue sound didn’t do Sari’s unique voice justice with too much reverb placed on the vocals. Saris voice needs to be heard and the bands sound driven hard, you need to feel the beat in your heart and soul and quick frankly I wasn’t feeling the usual Sari vibe I do at her shows. Whether this was due to one of the best guitarists on the blues scene Ash Wilson missing from the line-up and lack of unrivaled chemistry and stage presence Wilson and Schorr share together is debatable, but to be honest, I think I was just pining after one of my favourites players and was disappointed I didn’t get to see him.
Despite these minor details, which may just be me being a purist, the band played, and Sari sang beautifully. The sound was as tight as ever and the guitar playing did the the songs complete justice. The line-up change did not detract form the music of Sari Schoor one bit and if you closed your eyes you cold not tell the difference in personnel.
Sari Schorr Set List
- The New Revolution
- Dam The Reason
- Ready For Love
- King of Rock and Roll
- Thank You
- Never Say Never
- Maybe I’m Fooling
Walking on stage to the thunderous Highway to Hell from AC/DC were King King. Fronting the Scottish blues outfit is the fine figure of a man Alan Nimmo dressed in his usual stage outfit of a kilt and work boots and speaking with the broadest of Glaswegian accents. It’s hard to see at first glance how such a big guy can play such soulful blues and sing with such a sweet pure voice.
I was in ore watching this band play and I still struggle to grasp how someone of that stature can wrap his fingers around the the neck of a Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul with such ease and dexterity.
Fun is one superlative that can be used to describe this performance and Nimmo is such a cheeky chappy and a nice, down-to-earth and appreciative man. Alan was constantly thanking the audience for coming out and making the evening so special for their 10th year celebrations.
The set was a mixture of old and new material with each song having that same polished, but not overly clinical sound they have developed over the last decade. Watching King King live is a thoroughly enjoyable experience and the sound was like listening to the record, as it should be. Nimmno was note perfect and those big fingers of his produce such a sweet , sweet tone. Alan was ably backed by partners in crime and equally adept musicians Wayne Proctor on Drums, Lindsay Coulson on Bass and Johnny Dyke on the Keyboard and Hammond organ.
A tip of the hat and dedication to his brother Stevie and his mother for being cancer survivors was made in form of You Stopped The Rain which was an emotional moment and commanded a richly deserved ovation from the audience.
Although this tour was a celebration of the last decade of King King, there was also a somber note to proceedings. In recent times it has sadly been announced that bassist and founder member Lindsay Coulson will be leaving the band and moving on to pastures new. On announcing this to the crowd, there was emotional moment between Coulson and Nimmo as the front man lamented about the good times shared together over the past 20 or years they have known each other.
You could tell Alan was chocked and upset about the fact that when looking over his right shoulder he will no longer be able to see his pal Lindsay. The incoming bass player has some very big shoes to fill indeed but I’m sure the King King faithful will welcome Coulson’s replacement with open arms.
A fitting dedication to the outgoing member was a cover of the Eric Clapton song Old Love which silenced the crowd and brought proceedings to a close with a rapturous round of applause from the attentive audience.
King King are worthy of the moniker “Britain’s Number One Blues Band’ and are a must see for any music fan. This tour has a two fold meaning in the 10th year anniversary celebrations and the departure of bassist Lindsay Coulson. The exit of Coulson marks the end of an era for King King but also the beginning of a new chapter for the band. King King have firmly cemented themselves in hearts and minds of blues rockers all over and I for one am looking forward to what the next decade bring us.