King King are no strangers to the Sage Gateshead, having played here several times in recent years both as headliners and with the likes of the legendary John Mayall.
King King’s loyal North East fans sold out the show this evening in double quick time. In recent weeks, the band has been in the process of capturing the magic of their live shows for a future live album release. Tonight’s show is being recorded as part of that project.
Opening the show is South African guitar virtuoso, Dan Patlansky, who last week released Introvertigo, the follow-up to 2014’s critically acclaimed album,Â Dear Silence Thieves. Since Dan’s arrival on our UK shores last year, he has jetted around Europe as main support to the legendary Joe Satriani. However, despite being a veteran on the South African blues circuit, with nine albums under his belt, tonight is in fact, Dan’s first appearance in the Newcastle area.
Patlansky’s reputation has proceeded itself with a full house in attendance to see him kick off the show. Dan takes the opportunity to introduce the Tyneside crowd to his latest release with the likes of “Sonova Faith,” the beautiful slow blues number “Still Wanna Be Your Man,” and the funky “Stop The Messin’.” There’s also room for a few old favorites like “Backbite,” the song which introduced the UK to Dan Patlansky.
Patlansky exhibits an abundance of flair. At times, it’s as if he is channeling the great Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is particularly evident during set closer “My Chana,” which is a stratospheric tour de force of guitar showmanship, which leaves the audience spellbound and speechless.
Earlier this week King King received a nomination for Album of the Year in the British Blues Awards for their latest album,Â Reaching For The Light, and the band is in a celebratory mood tonight. Over recent years, King King have firmly established themselves as one of the leading groups on the European blues circuit.
Tonight, the roomÂ packed to the proverbial rafters, fans draped from the 360-degree balconies surrounding the stage, giving the venue a large yet at the same time intimate feel. The band thrives on energy in the room.
King King take to the stage opening their set with the infectious “Lose Control” from their debut album Take My Hand, and boy do they mean business; there’s something special in the air tonight. The band’s current single, “Rush Hour,” which has been receiving airplay from Planet Rock Radio of late proves to be a favorite with the fans engaging in some call and response with Alan Nimmo. The track sounds great on the album, but live it seems to have developed into something quite unique.
King King delve into their award winning album Standing In The Shadows with the soulful blues number “A Long History of Love,” which features some incredible Hammond work from Bob Fridzema. The band picks up the pace with the hard rocking “Hurricane” and “More Than I Can Take.”
King King deliver their superb take on Frankie Millerâ€™s “Jealousy.” Nimmo sights Miller as a major influence on the band, not just musically but also for his party style, reminiscing of days gone by when himself and bass player Lindsay Coulson would try to follow in his footsteps. The band takes us back to the first album with the funky “All Your Life.” They sound tight, all of the working elements combined to create a soulful rhythm.
One of the highlights of the set is the sublime “Stranger To Love,” which features a mind-blowing solo from Nimmo, he brings the volume down midway through the solo, the room so quiet you could hear the guitar pick plucking the strings. Nimmo has the audience eating out of the palms of his hands, it takes a lot to silence a Geordie crowd on a Friday night, but that was enough to do it. The audience transfixed and respectful, Nimmo quips “that’s how you finish a set” and the audience roars. But they aren’t done yet. The band return to the stage to a hero’sÂ welcome to close out the night with the cheery, upbeat number “Let Love In.”
It may be Friday the 13th, but there was nothing scary about tonight’s performance from King King. Instead, it feels more like their coronation rather than some nightmarish scenario that usually unfolds on this day of the year. A mere three years ago the band was in this very same room opening for Joanne Shaw Taylor. Tonight, they play a sold out show to a crowd of adoring Geordie blues rock fans. It’s fair to say that King King have well and truly stepped out of the shadows and into the limelight that they duly deserve.