Opening with More Than I Can Take King King filled St David’s auditorium with their mix of keys, guitar and Alan’s vocals and the theatre was entranced; for many this was their first experience of this award-winning modern British blues band. It was great to see the band performing on a large stage with the warm sound that St David’s Hall produces every time. With only a shortish set they hit the ground running as they delivered a selection of songs from their two albums, Take My Hand and their latest Standing In The Shadows. The rendition of Frankie Miller’s Jealousy was Wow!! the sound was just fantastic the perfect song to showcase the band and Alan’s emotion-driven vocals. Every time Bluesdoodles see this band we are continually blown away by the quality, they just get better and better as they hone their skills and deliver the songs we love with a mixture of passion and controlled musical skills as the sound from Lindsay Coulson on Bass and Wayne Proctor on Drums creating a rhythm section that is solid and adds a depth off tone, and Bob Fridzema (Hammond & Piano) and that sound that makes King King stand out from the crowd and then out front Alan Nimmo with his distinctive vocals and guitar sound. Tonight I did anticipate something special and King King delivered ending the set with Old Love the hall fell silent as the version captured their attention as the guitar got lower the silence deepened and then when turned up there was a roar of appreciation, all too soon they were leaving the stage to a standing ovation .. Want to see them again they are back in Cardiff on 8th March 2015 at The Globe in Albany Road.
John Mayall strode onto the stage, took up his position behind the keys and opened with All Your Love a great classic number for a legend, tonight he was accompanied by Rocky Athas (Guitar); Greg Rzab (Bass) & Jay Davenport (Drums) who provided the perfect musical foil for John Mayall when singing, on keys, guitar or blowing the harp. This was going to be a night full of memories as St David’s Hall collectively celebrated with John Mayall on his 80th Anniversary Tour. The energy that flowed from the stage belied the fact that John has been touring for over fifty years, the fans were re-living every moment with songs like Gimme One More Day; John created a party feel with his easy-going stage style chatting with audience as if they were part of his inner circle. That’s All Right by Jimmy Rogers a more traditional blues delivery more laid back and less energetic than King King giving the audience time to take a deep breath and get back into this groove being delivered by the God Father of British Blues. His version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s Help Me was sublime a great stretched traditional take on this classic. We were brought into the eighties with a John Mayall funkier number ‘Natures Disappearing’ as relevant today as when it was first released on the USA Union album, with its powerful and meaningful lyrics played with heart and passion this song mattered.
The delivery of T-Bone Walker’s Stormy Monday was full of layers of tones and textures full of blues breaks and licks no wonder this is a classic many bands deliver but few with the class it was played tonight.
Jay Davenport’s drumming was spot on full of blues emotion combined with some classy bass twist and turns delivered by Greg, and the guitar playing whether lead breaks or as rhythm from Rocky was full of Texan magic as displayed when all three had the opportunity to do solo spots as the set drew all too quickly to a close.
Tonight we heard and saw two dynamic forces of British Blues King King with a rock/funk twist and John Mayall with his 45 Albums spanning the decades of the British Blues scene. What made the evening such quality entertainment was the distinct contrast between King King and John Mayall, demonstrating what a diverse and interesting genre British Blues is and always has been. The crowds were captivated and thoroughly enjoyed the quality walk through memory lane that John Mayall took them tonight as we all celebrated his 80th Anniversary tour.
John Mayall with King King Supporting
24th Princess Theatre Torquay
25th The Anvil, Basingstoke
26th Colston Hall, Bristol
28th Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
29th York Barbican, York
30th Buxton Opera House, Buxton
31st Venue Cymru, Llandudno
1st Cadogan Hall, London
2nd Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich
4th City Hall, Sheffield
5th Symphony Hall, Birmingham
6th Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
7th Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth
8th Cheese & Grain Frome
9th Corn Exchange, Cambridge
11th Sage Gateshead, Gateshead
12th Southport Theatre & Convention Centre, Southport
13th The Victoria Theatre, Halifax
14th Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline
15th Caird Hall, Dundee
16th Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen
17th Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
18th L’Auditori, Barcelona, Spain
19th The Hawth Theatre, Crawley
20th Portsmouth Guildhall, Portsmouth
21st De Montfort Hall, Leicester
22nd Swan Theatre, High Wycombe
23rd The Orchard, Dartford
25th Ronnie Scotts, London
26th Ronnie Scotts, London