Photo Credit Steve Gunn
KING KING with WHEN RIVERS MEET (SUPPORT) QUEENS HALL EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – SUN 24th OCTOBER 2021
LIVE MUSIC RETURNS
Live music is back and so are the fans much to the relief of musicians, theatre staff and concert goers alike. You could tell by the street queue outside the venue that the crowd were all eager to experience live music again, with lots of chat about past concerts ‘pre-pandemic’ from March 2020 and before. For all, entry went smoothly provided you could provide evidence of your ‘double vaccine certificates’, a must in Scotland at the present time.
The Queen’s Hall is a unique venue having been converted from a former church in 1979 but retaining the original back, side and gallery pews. The elevated pews provide great viewing over the currently limited standing crowd in front of the stage.
WHEN RIVERS MEET
The night kicked off with support from Grace and Aaron Bond, better known as ‘When Rivers Meet’. On stage the duo filled the hall immediately opening with a foot stomping rendition of ‘Did I Break the Law’, sounding like a full 4/5-piece band graced by the appeal of the energetic singing and stage presence of Grace Bond. Indeed, their style for the first 3 songs echoed the sounds of ‘Curved Air meets Medicine Head’. For the final 3 songs Aaron switched to what can only be described as a home-made cigar box 3 string slide guitar providing a unique almost hill-billy twank. ‘We Fly Free’ the title of their acclaimed 1st album finished the set to rapturous applause.
When Rivers Meet will be touring throughout the UK in April/May next year. If you can’t catch them live you can always hear a sample of their work on social media.
Tracks played: Did I Break the Law, My Babe Says She Loves Me, Walking on Wire, Battleground, Innocence of Youth and We Fly Free.
After a short refreshment break the audience were called to take their ‘pews’ to welcome King King on to the stage as the sound system blasted out ‘Highway to Hell’.
‘We are back in Scotland and playing live at last’ cried front man Alan Nimmo, who’s presence on stage is not to be missed, as this Glaswegian kilt clad gent knows how to perform with his stunning blues riff guitar playing and exceptional voice. ‘This is the end of our short UK Tour and our only Scottish date’. King King’s love for recording and playing has rightly led them to build up a world- wide reputation and a clutch of blues and rock awards. The band have not been idle over the last 18 months or so, hence the release of their new album ‘Maverick’. To-night we were to be treated to a set consisting half of their new songs interspersed with a host of fan favourites.
The opening number ‘She Don’t Gimme No Loving’, a song from their 2017 ‘Exile & Grace’ album, was to herald what was to come, a true rhythmic rocky set that had the audience standing in the pews from the start. There is no doubt that King King have developed from a distinct blues band to a smooth sounding professional rock band. The keyboard riffs played by Jonny Dyke are as distinctive as the guitars to give an edge to the band much like Foreigner. As the planet has been shut down, new songs ‘One World’ and ‘Never Give In’ encourages us to all to stick together with hope. If it a singalong anthem you want, look no further than ‘Rush Hour’, played at a slightly different tempo than the original but still includes audience sing along moments (no hymn books required) like a church choir. ‘A long History of Love’ gives Jonny Dyke on keyboards the chance to shine. Nearing the end of the set new band members Zander Greenshields (bass), Andrew Scott (drums) and brother Stevie Nimmo (guitar) get the chance to shine especially on the closing number ‘I Will Not Fall’ that builds and builds to an ending climax. This track is sure to be part of their set for years to come.
With 1 hour on the clock is this the end? Off-course NOT, as the band return to the stage for an encore of 3 songs ‘When My Winter Comes’, Stranger to Love’ and ‘Let Love In’. ‘Stranger to Love’ is an epic 12min+ blues track which rocks and drifts to almost silence at times when Alan N and Jonny D exchange instrumental words (guitar to keyboards) and Andrew S on drums simply clicks his fingers encouraging the crowd to do likewise.
King King have planned for a return to normal next year with a 13 date UK tour Jan/Feb and Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland etc. tour later in the year. Let’s hope there are no more need for tour cancellations due to Covid-19 or BREXIT?
King King are: Alan Nimmo-Guitar/Vocals, Zander Greenside-Bass, Stevie Nimmo- guitar, Andrew Scott-Drums & Jonny Dyke-Keyboards
Stage Set: She Don’t Gimme No Lovin, Fire in My Soul, One World, Waking Up, Rush Hour ,Coming Home (Rest Your Eyes), A Long History Of Love, You Stopped the Rain,, Never Give In, Whatever It Takes to Survive, I Will Not Fall + When Winter Comes, Stranger To Love & finally Let Love In.
Review by Hugh Connell Photographs by Steve Gunn for Scottish Music Network (SMN)