Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM
Waiting in line, in the rain, with cars spraying water everywhere, it all didn’t seem to matter to the hundreds of fans waiting in turn, patiently, to get into the Picturedrome in rural Holmfirth, yes Last of the Summer Wine country.
Tonight was special, tonight British Blue’s rockers, King King are appearing, their postponed gig date had now arrived and boy, the queue was pumped in anticipation.
First on we have Jim Kirkpatrick. This well-known FM guitarist has ventured out on a side project promoting his New Solo album *‘Ballad of a Prodigal Son’*. Having not seen Jim outside of his day job I was keen to hear what he had to offer.
Coming on almost on time he’s straight into the self-named title song from the album, and boy what a ripper. With a velvety smooth voice and a guitar that screams sophistication when it’s unleashed, he soars his way through this opener. The crowd are suddenly at ease when he mentions FM, the nods and mutters of approval go quietly around the venue.
Moving straight on into *‘No Such Thing as a Sure Thing’* and *‘Ain’t Goin Down Alone’* see’s Jim settling into his stride. A silky-smooth voice weaves it’s way effortlessly as he picks out the finer details on first a Strat and then a Les Paul.
The matureness of his playing is backed up by a strong backline, Ollie Collins on bass, drums being caressed by Leon Cave of Quo fame and who else on the keys but FM’s very own Jem Davis. They are tight and on it, enjoying playing live at last.
This was a great support set, worthy of its own top slot, showcasing what an excellent songwriter Jim is, think Bonamassa with soul, think Kenny Wayne Shepherd with maturity and you’re somewhere close, there was even a
hint of our very own Kris Barras coming through, great company indeed and thoroughly enjoyable.
The room fills with cheers as that old favourite, *‘Highway to Hell’* plays out. The singing starts loudly by all, the band walk on as the singing rises in level, until Alan Nimmo appears, then it’s just complete bedlam, he punches the air encouraging the crowd, thanks the fans as he soaks in the atmosphere, emotion evident but controlled.
Alan’s big brother Stevie has now joined the four-piece. Stevie, is a formidable talent in his own right so It’ll be interesting to see how he slots in.
Starting off with *‘(she don’t) Gimme No Lovin’* see’s the band on form. No evidence or ring rust from them or the fans as they sing along to this old favourite, a catchy well written staple of any King King gig. This is followed by the first off the new album *’Maverick’* which has been written by both Alan and Stevie, called *‘Fire in my Soul*’ it doesn’t disappoint the crowd.
A steady bass line throbs out, this marks the start of yet another old friend, *‘Waking Up’* which again has the crowd clapping in time and singing along, Jonny Dykes fingers on both the Hammond & the Nord Electro 5 completing the backline as this slow anthem unravels seamlessly much to the crowds approval.
King King have lost none of their character, a meaty blues drum beat, the distinctive Hammond organ, Nimmo’s excellent vocals, powering through, combined with the explosive, distorted guitar, and a masterful solo, a staple from the Nimmo boy, gives a classic recipe for any King King tune.
And the set continues but you can hardly call the rest as ‘*fillers*’, *‘Rush Hour’*, runs into *‘A long History of Love’*, *‘Coming Home’* and then the lament that is ‘*You Stopped the Rain’*. An emotionally charged tune, written about his feelings for his big brother Stevie who was going through a rough time, a beautifully written song that never gets old or corny, the fact that big brother Stevie is jammin’ along-side Alan makes it all the more special.
The set finishes with *‘I Will Not Fall’ *again from the new album and *‘Stranger to Love’* from Reaching for the Light, both sure-fire winners with the crowd, the latter, with its catchy groove, a tune that would normally see Alan play the solo with the volume turned down to zero, but not tonight.
This blistering solo is loud and proud and in your face, he makes no bones about who the daddy is as he brings the set to an untimely end with a driven, extended solo; Scott on drums, Greenshields on Bass and Dyke on Hammond help in tearing the roof off the Picturedrome.
The usual screaming and shouting commence and ensures the band come back on for a four-song encore. First up we have one of two stripped back numbers, *‘Violin’* the *Amos Lee* track that featured on the internet recently,
arranged by both Jonny Dyke and Alan, this song is just piano and Alan’s voice, this is followed by *‘When My Winter Comes’* a tune written by both Nimmo and Dyke, another stunning vocal but this time backed up by Alans big brother, Stevie, and still not a guitar in sight.
*‘Let Love In’* and slow blues ballad, *‘Whatever It Takes to Survive’* completes the night of explosive British Blues. And what a night!
King King have yet again proven that a man in a skirt and boots can be taken seriously. A night where excellent songwriting has been the norm, musicianship has been exemplary and emotions have run high by both the band
and the gathered crowd of loyal friends.
Stevie Nimmo, the missing link, as someone referred to him as, has blended in seamlessly. The danger of this becoming another Nimmo Brothers incarnation never happened, reserved and respectful he played a great
second fiddle but he never put a foot wrong.
Thankfully, Guitar driven blues is alive and well and for this one evening, a masterclass has been performed high in the hills just south of Huddersfield well worthy of the two hour drive home.
Compo, Clegg and Foggy would be proud!#