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Gig Review :King King @ Barrowland, Glasgow

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Review & Photography by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

It seems like an age since I have seen King King back at a hometown show and like a comfy pair of joggers the pleasure is unfathomable.

The support tonight is a bit of a funny choice in Glenn Tilbrook. Neither blues or Rock but as a lot of us old heads grew up in the 80s I suppose there would be enough interest.

It was just the Squeeze singer, a guitar, a pink suit, some comfy loafers and a whole raft of squeeze songs with some covers thrown in. The boys gave him a good amount of time (a 15 song set) and to give him his due he went down well.

He kicked off with “Up the Junction” which did take me way back and I do remember buying this as a seven inch single in 1979 as a 12 year old who was just about to discover my beloved Rock and Metal so this was great to hear all stripped down.

Glenn’s voice was on top form and “Little Ships” and “Cradle to the Grave” sounded great but I felt the single electric or acoustic guitar was very limiting and the Human League cover of “Don’t You Want me” was starting to push the boat out a bit but when we got to “My Boy Lollipop” I tapped out of there like a youtuber in the UFC.

There is no finer sight than watching a Glasgow band in the Barras, since the Apollo closed this venue has become the happy place for many Scottish fans, the bouncy floor, the stars on the roof and the multitude of bands that have adorned that stage make it a very special place.

For a Glasgow band it is what you strive for, forget thee haunted and dead atmosphere of the Hydro, this is the venue off choice and for me as a photographer it was my first real highlight for a venue to shoot, purely because I had frequented it for so long as a punter, the venue holds so many memories.

King King are aware of this and it is why they are all smiling from ear to ear as they stand there looking out to a sea of faces and I am sure their own memories come flooding back. This of course is not the first time the band have played here as if memory serves me correctly that was as support to Thunder five years ago but I believe tonight may have meant more as the band tonight is much changed from then and the guys on that stage are all very old friends( and one extremely talented brother).

Tonight also had a feel of their headline set played at another beloved( and now sadly Gone) venue of the 02, ABC which was captured on the live CD which is one of the best modern live albums in a long time.

After Alan Nimmo says hello and finally calms the smile down a bit he plugs in and jumps into the high tempo “Dance Together” from latest release Maverick and Glasgow is at peace once again.

It is back to previous album Exile and Grace and “Long Time Running”, another up tempo track that showcases King King’s slight move towards the rock angle more than Blues that they were better known. Both Alan and Stevie have never hidden the fact they love Whitesnake and Thunder with the former being one of my all time favourite covers the Nimmo Brothers did a long time ago.

After that support slot for Thunder I felt the band shifted. I have no idea if they had conversations with Danny and the boys on that tour but it felt like that was when Alan decided which direction King King should take and they have not looked back.

Still with Exile and Grace but with an earlier King King feel we move to “Heed the Warning” and tonight there is no need for a warning as this hall is full of only love for this band.

Next was a very special moment, “By Your Side” was stunning and this beautiful number and message bounced around the eyes of the audience and you could sense this was a lot of people’s top track from the album.

From the beautiful message to the reality…yip, this world is totally “Broken”. This is Blues lesson, pain, suffering, lack of hope…and you have an immense song. This is followed by a song that only needs a couple of chords before the crowd is cheering, yes, “A Long History of Love” is one of this bands most popular songs and it sees Alan at his very best. The solo work is sublime.

After a couple of songs we get into some dedications, the first the amazing “You Stopped the Rain” which was written about Alan’s brother Stevie. In days gone by Stevie was not on the stage to see this (he was usually the roadie for the night) so it becomes more special to see them both here together. As much as I loved the boys in their separate entities it is when they are together that the magic happens and as much as Stevie plays a lesser role than in his own band it is great to see those boys stick together.

At this point and because of the thoughts behind this song I want to take time to mention a recently departed friend and a stalwart of Glasgow gig scene in Bill McKinney. Bill would have been here tonight and as you always saw him he would have had a smile on his face and a pint in his hand. His loss is the Glasgow music scenes loss and he will be sadly missed.

And as if Bill had wished it himself the set leans heavily into the blues for the remainder of the night and we have another Barrowland classic version of “Rush Hour” and as one the Glasgow choir are chanting back at the band. It is followed up with the slow and sleazy “Stranger to Love” before the encore of Clapton’s “Old Love”

King King are always on top form live but in Glasgow there is a spark in the guys and the night is always special and in the Barras they rank right up there with some special shows in Gun, SLF on St Paddy’s day and the craziest experience ever in the venue for me, Metallica.

Follow King King online:

Web:                   https://www.kingking.co.uk/

Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/kingkingband/

Instagram:         https://www.instagram.com/kingkinguk/

Twitter                https://twitter.com/KingKingUK

You Tube:           https://www.youtube.com/user/KingKingTV

Spotify:               https://open.spotify.com/artist/4SXsN

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