Bonfire Night Blues in Brum

Support for tonight are King King, a band that are getting a fair bit of press having won the awards for Best Band and Best Album at the British Blues awards 2014 and they certainly don`t disappoint. It is a bitter Autumn evening outside so the last thing you expect to see is a fairly large guy in a kilt bounce on stage with a guitar in hand. This is Alan Nimmo, singer and guitar player who greets a fairly packed Symphony hall with a hearty hello before shaking fingers or fist punching the other three members of the band and blasting through the first two numbers.

Third song in is written by a fellow Glaswegian Frankie Miller called “Jealousy” and it`s also on King King`s current release “Standing in the Shadows.” “Can’t Keep From Trying”, another song from the new release follows and the band get the crowd clapping along. I’m reminded of Rod Stewart’s voice on this track, which is no bad thing.

“Let Love In”, again from the latest release is next up before “Old Love” from the first album and  “Take My Hand” finishes a blistering set showing Mr Nimmo`s guitar prowess to the full, especially with the wonderful acoustics of the Symphony Hall. A superb band with Lindsay Coulson on Bass, Wayne Proctor on drums and Bob Fridzema on keys. They are support on the whole of this tour so if you get chance get along early to see them. Dates on the tour are here

So on to the main act. So many times I have wanted to see this guy, only for something else to crop up so I was determined to catch this 80th Anniversary tour. Mr Mayall will be 81 on 29th November. Many greats have passed through John`s bands over the years, its almost like some blues finishing school. How about this for a line up? Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce prior to forming Cream. Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood before Fleetwood Mac. Andy Fraser before Free and Mick Taylor before joining the Rolling Stones. Others include Walter Trout, Coco Montoya and Buddy Whittington ….So all in all playing alongside this fella must be a pretty daunting task. But the current crop of Rocky Athas on Guitar, Greg Rzab on bass & Jay Davenport on drums pass with flying colours.

“Big Town Playboy” starts the show from the latest release “A Special Life”. “Help Me,” written by Sonny boy Williamson follows, but only after we are told about how difficult the author was to work with.

“Gimme One More Day,” “The Sum of Something” and “Not At Home” are quite a trio to run through next. , Then “One Life To Live” –  a song written about his National Service experience in 1950`s Korea gets an airing.

There are plenty of other highlights too, notably  “Early in the Morning” and “Broken Wings”. The set is closed  by “California,”  which is the perfect way for the band to show their skills alongside  Mr Mayall’s Guitar, keyboard and harmonica playing. A fine way to close a great show.

There is time for one more as an encore and this was a set which clocked in at a one hour forty five minutes, proving if nothing else the astonishing stamina of Mayall  The tour continues almost to the end of the month so there is no excuse not to get out to see this living legend.

 Otherwise I`ll see you at the 90th anniversary tour in 2024 !!!

John Mayall tour dates are here