King King makes a welcome return to the North East of England, almost a year to the day since their last sold out show at the Sage Gateshead.

Tucked away deep in the heart of Exhibition Park on the outskirts of Newcastle City Centre is the beautiful Palace of Arts, which houses one of the region’s newest and most exciting venues the Wylam Brewery. Tonight King King make their first appearance at this spot to a strong crowd of loyal blues rock fans.

The North East of England has always been somewhat of a stronghold for King King; Alan Nimmo has of course been performing in the area for over twenty years with the Nimmo Brothers, the Blackwater Blues Band and his current outfit respectively. Many of those in attendance this evening have followed Alan throughout his entire career.

Opening the show this evening is Norfolk-based five piece Bad Touch, who pick up from where they left off from their recent appearance in the city on the Planet Rock Roadstars tour at the nearby Cluny. A strong turnout is in attendance early on to see them.

It seems rather bright when the band kick off the proceedings; natural daylight pours in through the windows of the dome-like structure directly above the stage and creates a nice ambience in the room.

This evening Bad Touch deliver a set which focusses largely on their excellent sophomore album Truth Be Told, immediately launching into the hard rocking “Heartbreaker Soulshaker” and “Under My Skin”. This band certainly has talent in spades, Westwood charms the audience whilst the devastating guitar partnership of young Harry Slater and Daniel Seekings play off each other all night long.

“My Mother Told Me” is one of the many standout numbers in the band’s set; as the song ebbs and flows Bad Touch seamlessly segue the track into a cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle” which results in a mass singalong from the Tyneside audience. On the other hand the band’s single “99%” is packed full of infectious hooks and a soulful chorus, which you can’t help but be swept away by.

Having left his iPhone perched at the front of the stage during sound check and throughout the evening, the band’s lead vocalist Stevie Westwood thanks the people of Newcastle for being so trustworthy having not pocketed his phone, much to their amusement.

Bad Touch brings their short but sweet set to a close with “The Mountain”. This track is a monumental, retro sounding, groove heavy number of epic proportions, which culminates in a crowd-pleasing few bars of the Led Zeppelin classic “Moby Dick”. Bad Touch leaves the stage to rapturous applause, and the band most certainly have added some new Geordie friends to their ever growing fan base.

It’s been a busy week of shows in the North East of England with the likes of both Paul Rodgers and Robert Cray having passed through the city in the last few days. However, this hasn’t deterred the Geordie faithful for coming out in force this evening.

After almost two years, King King are heading into the final strides of their Reaching For The Light touring/album cycle. We are reliably informed that a new studio album is on its way which is provisionally being tipped for release later this year. The band’s critically acclaimed third record has seen King King pick up a relative treasure trove of well-deserved accolades, nominations and awards, and rightly so.

The sounds of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” resonate across the venue’s PA system and gets the room pumped up for what is to follow. King King take to the stage and break into an emphatic rendition of “More Than I Can Take”. This is closely followed by their take on the Fabulous Thunderbirds “Wait On Time”, which is one of two covers included in the show this evening.

Nimmo dedicates the beautiful “You Stopped The Rain” to brother Stevie, before breaking into old favourite “Long History of Love”, which sees to great interplay between Alan and Bob Fridzema on Hammond.

Tonight King King takes the opportunity to whet the crowd’s appetite for their forthcoming release with the inclusion of one new track, that being the first single from the record “Gimme No Loving”. The song starts off with an almost AC/DC-esque guitar riff, over that distinctive Lesley-fueled Hammond sound which in places is reminiscent of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, and is most certainly well received.

It is well noted that Free are one of Alan Nimmo’s biggest influences, he comments on how for the first time Paul Rodgers is touring his Free Spirit Tour, and all of the dates clash with the band’s current touring schedule, much to his disappointment. To pay homage to the great band themselves, King King perform a spellbinding cover of Free’s much-celebrated track “Heavy Load”.

In recent times Alan Nimmo has had some challenges with his voice, undergoing surgery on his vocal chords last year as well as a subsequent bout of laryngitis, which resulted in the postponement of a few shows. Commenting on how the band occasionally have excluded certain songs because of this, tonight “Crazy” is included in the set for the first time in a while, and Alan most certainly gives it his all.

King King’s rhythm section of Lindsay Coulson (bass) and Wayne Proctor (drums) maintain a tight groove throughout. The vibrations from Proctor’s hard hitting bass drum is enough to move the bottle of water in front of Nimmo’s feet several inches across the stage during the show.

King King brings their main set to a close with the epic “Stranger To Love”. Mid-way through the song as Nimmo takes things down with one of his spectacular solo’s he shows that he’s all heart whilst showing genuine concern after spotting an audience member who has passed out in the middle of the crowd, he stops the show until the gentlemen is taken to care. The audience is understanding and respectful throughout before the song is later reprised.

King King returns to the stage for a duly deserved encore of the rather funky number “Let Love In”, which leaves the Newcastle audience wanting more and eagerly awaiting more of what is to come from this great British blues-rock quartet.

One thing that has always set King King out above the rest is their live performances, and if you don’t believe that, pick up a copy of the band’s latest concert album or get along to one of their shows and find out for yourself.

King King
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Bad Touch
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Event Date: 11-MAY-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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