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King King w/ Bad Touch at the Leamington Assembly, May 18th 2017.

Looking through some earlier reviews it seems that writers are string to run out of superlatives to describe these two bands. King King and Bad Touch have gone from strength to strength and as their legions of followers grows so do the audiences and the venues.

Tonight it was the turn of Leamington Assembly to feel the combined force of Stevie Westwood and Alan Nimmo, front men of Bad Touch and King King respectively.

Following close on the heels of a tour appearing alongside Broken Witt Rebels, the Bad Touch boys keep the tour bus warm as they continue with their plans for world domination and stay on the road supporting the increasingly popular King King.

Stevie Westwood, complete with trademark floral shirt, and partners get the show going with ‘Heartbreaker, Soulshaker’ with its Deep Purple overtones introduce the crowd to Westwoods gritty vocals, tempered by some crisp guitars. The more Southern Rock oriented ‘Under my Skin’ was second on the setlist which demonstrated the sheer power of Westwood’s voice as he belts out the lyrics. The move south continues with the introduction of some slide guitar which then breaks into Led Zeppelin territory as they up the pace a little for ‘Outlaw’. ‘My Mother Told Me’, with its Wishbone Ash style twin guitar attack supplied by Harry Slater and Daniel Seekings, suddenly morphs into Otis Redding’s ‘Hard to Handle’ complete with a little bit of (attempted) audience participation. The closest thing to a ballad, ‘Take Your Time’ allowed the band to take a bit of a breather before they go head-first into ‘99%’, probably my favourite song of the set. A truly upbeat rock’n’roller of a song ‘99%’ was given 100% by the band. Time to close it down and the band finish with ‘The Mountain’, another fine piece of Suffolk seaside rock, but not quite as fine as the snippet of ‘Moby Dick’ that signalled the end of their show. Throughout the set Stevie Westwood keeps the chat going as he engages the audience. A rising force this band is, see for yourself you will!

The recently departed Chris Cornell is remembered as King King use Audioslave’s ‘Cochise’ as the walk on music before laying down the hammer with ‘More Than I can Take’, from their 2013 album ‘Standing in the Shadows’; this provides the benchmark for the entire set and that benchmark is set pretty high these days. As the band go from strength to strength, growing their fanbase in truckloads, there are few songs that don’t grab the attention either for the musical ability of Alan Nimmo or the rich late 1960’s style keyboards of Bob Fridzema. The opening original is followed by a cover, The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ ‘Wait on Time’ with the Hammond organ taking centre stage for much of the song, a true blues epic of a song.

The most recent studio album, ‘Reaching for the Light’ gets its first airing as the band give a fabulous rendition of ‘Rush Hour’ then ‘You Stopped the Rain’, a song dedicated to Chris Cornell. Alan steers the band into Blues Prog territory with ‘A Long History of Love’. The album version is a seven minute bluesfest but tonight it’s taken well beyond the 10 minute mark with a contributory solo from the front man. Alan Nimmo is a hulk of a man with a broad Glaswegian accent but his singing voice is soft at times, refined at all times, and has been transformed since I first saw the band a couple of years ago into a magnificent instrument in its own right.

‘Waking Up’ from the last album is followed by another cover, this time a tip of the hat to Paul Rodgers, also on tour at the moment, with Free’s ‘Heavy Load’ and a quick dig as an audience member quotes that the Paul Rodgers tour is ‘far from free’ to which Nimmo retorts “so that’s why you’re here, we’re cheap!”

A couple more songs and we reach the end of the set but the parting shot, for now at least, is ‘Stranger to Love’ from the latest album, something of an anthem for the band. The highlight of this song was the extended solo from Alan Nimmo when he had the volume somewhere near zero and you could hear every plucked note as the audience went dead silent, a show of respect to a tremendous frontman and all round entertainer.

A short break left just one thing left to play, ‘Let Love In’ from ‘Standing in the Shadows’, the song ended, the lights went up, the crowd dispersed but the mutterings of what a fantastic show it was echoed down the stairs and out into the damp streets of Leamington Spa. It’s hard to see where the band go from here, but it will be interesting to stand and watch and see just what does happen.

 

 

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