EUROPE / KING KING - Rock City, Nottingham - 18.09.18



As the queue snaked its way around the corner from the main entrance of Rock City it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t just me that was looking forward to tonight’s musical marvelousness.


First on stage are British blues-rock band King King.  I have seen the band a few times this year already so to see Alan Nimmo walk out on stage grinning broadly, I know that he is looking forward to the show as much as I am. A plethora of familiar King King fans up against the barrier must have been so nice for the band to see in the rapidly filling venue.


As the keys, drums and guitars began with ‘She Don’t Gimme No Lovin’, the sound level and mix are superb, the clarity from Nimmo’s vocal and the ever-present keys from Jonny Dyke.  This is British blues-rock at its finest.  Lindsay Coulson has some serious funk to his bass playing and Wayne Proctor is not just a drummer, he has flair and groove to his playing.  This all sounds very tasty and of course the guitar playing from Alan just gets better and better.  Tonight, he is absolutely smouldering hot as he rips into the riffs and solos, sweat pouring off his expressive brow.  One thing about watching King King is that you know when they are enjoying themselves and despite packing their set into a tiny 50 minutes, the band are clearly relishing this.  Little chat form Nimmo as time is so tight, rattling through many tracks from their  ‘Exile & Grace’ album released late 2017 and it was lovely to hear ‘You Stopped The Rain’ from ‘Reaching for the Light’.  A fabulous reaction from the audience who were vocally appreciative of a really great live band that had just thrown the gauntlet down to Europe.  It’s a brave band that has these guys opening for them.



The lights dropped, the smoke filled the stage, the pit and the first third of the room as the rumbling started and the stage became bathed in dim blue light.  The opening bars of ‘Walk The Earth’ have the crowd cheering and singing along as Joey Tempest begins his performance.  It is a performance, he is one of the best frontmen around and with the longevity of the band, his skills, his vocal ability and his mere stage presence has never diminished.  Musically the band are on form, are they ever not? They are consummate professionals who appear focussed and happy on the stage.


Looking through my lens from the close proximity of the pit, they haven’t aged – Tempest appears to have been drinking from the fountain of eternal youth both looks wise and also with the power and pitch of his voice.


Dropping straight into their latest release ‘The Siege’, the new tracks sound heavy, guitar driven with Mics keyboards providing just enough accompaniment for it not to creep into prog rock territory.  The stage is now bathed in green light, the fog adding to the depth of the riffs from John Norum, the hardness of the drumming and the pulsing bass from John Leven .  Fabulous and atmospheric.


A shout from Tempest above the noise from the fans, ‘Are you ready to Rock The Night?’ and the explosion of white lights and familiar music light up the room like a firework exploding in the rafters.  Some songs are time-less and this is one of those with a guarantee it is going to get the room jumping and it does.   


We are transported through various albums, various decades and back to the new over the course of all 20 songs on the set list.  I won’t spoil it for those yet to see the band on tour but you can expect some classics. ‘Carrie’ slowed the pace and had every person in the room singing along with every word and the response was deafening, the band all smiling and clearly enjoying the response.


Tempest connects with the crowd with very little banter, a quip about the band sounding good and hopefully coming to something one day.  Adding that he tells the band that one day they might make it.


A prolific career for a band that hit the big time in the days of hair metal but have actually produced the goods consistently over 11 albums never sticking in a time warp, they are creative and believe in the songs which is why it continues to connect with people of every age and generation.


Of course, there was going to be a keyboard solo and a drum solo, they were short and entertaining Mic Michaeli is so talented it’s a pleasure to listen to the creativity and what can you say about Ian Haugland except he matches Joey in the performance stakes.  William Tell Overture sounding splendid when accompanied by such a bashing on the skins, white lights blazing and roars of appreciation from around the room.


‘Scream for me Nottingham’ and we certainly did! And so began an absolutely stunning finale of music.   ‘Scream’, ‘War Of Kings’, ‘Superstitious’ ‘Cherokee’ and of course ‘The Final Countdown’.


I have seen Europe many times and I enjoyed this one a great deal.  They are always fabulous live but there seems to be a fire in their performance right now.  A common theme across many of the 80’s and 90’s bands who seem to have that ‘something’ which just gets better and better every tour.


Did they Rock The Night until The Final Countdown. Absolutely!



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