King King crowned
Venue: Jazz Cafe, London
There are joss sticks being lit at the bar, and the guitarist is wearing a bloody kilt. What sort of blues rock night is this?
Welcome to King King, a band who put a great big smile on everyone's face, making you feel sorry for anyone who's not in the audience, grooving, clapping and cheering.
A dynamic support slot from Hatfitz And Cara, a duo who use almost anything to hand to create a groove that's blues, rock, folk, country – yet none of these – sets the tone. It's entertaining and blushing with sparkle, creating the right ambience for the main event.
King King frontman Alan Nimmo, a larger than life Scot (hence the kilt), smirks as he announces that his mum is in the audience tonight, “so there'll be no swearing”, which gets everyone guffawing and immediately on his side. Half of the Nimmo Brothers, Alan has character, charisma, charm and conviviality. He plays guitar with the combined influences of Paul Kossoff, Gary Moore and Eric Clapton, and has a voice that oozes Frankie Miller and Paul Rodgers. While Moore — and, more recently, Joe Bonamassa — had to work hard to get their vocals to a decent level, this bloke makes it all sound so easy.
Waltzing into Hurricane, the next 110 minutes are joyous. Like all the best nights, King King make you believe there's no other band on the planet. They wrap up their sound in melody and momentum, carrying you along for the ride. And it's not just Nimmo. Organ player Bob Fridzema provides a commanding foil for the guitarist, and at times their dialogue is overpowering. And all four Kingsmen – completed by bassist Lindsay Coulson and drummer Wayne Proctor (a rhythm section so locked together you'd swear they were siamese twins) – have the ability to switch from bravura to breathtaking to benign almost in a blink.