The King Blues – Koko, Camden

By Andy

Back in 2007, THE KING BLUES ran a residency at Camden?s Purple Turtle venue showcasing emerging UK talent. Tonight the band is across the road at the much more grandiose Koko. ?We used to watch the bigger bands playing here,? recalls singer Itch Fox. ?This feels really special.? Indeed, the two venues may only be 10 yards apart but the scale of each show is in stark contrast. One thing remains the same though. The band is still finding a platform for UK talent, tonight in the form of two bands that played those residency shows four years ago.

On the back of brand new album ?Seething Is Believing?, RANDOM HAND [4/5] welcome the early Camden audience with fierce gusto aplomb. The Yorkshire quartet?s trademark mangled metal/skacore sound resonates throughout the room and makes noticeable impressions on a lot of faces that most likely haven?t seen the band before. New tunes ?Three From Six? and ?Find What?s Out There? translate impeccably to the live setting whilst the standards ?Anger Management? and ?Play Some Ska? sound as vital as ever. If there?s a knock on the set it?s that truncation means Random Hand has barely kicked it into fourth gear by the time the end comes.

SONIC BOOM SIX [3.5/5] continues on what has become a bit of a precarious transition period since adopting a new line-up. Tonight?s set sees the band unveil new material that edges towards more eclectic avenues. Yes, the band that likes mixing it up has thrown even more synthy/sampled/dance goodness into the mix. ?New Style Rocka?, the band?s latest single, sounds positively [cough] booming live, whilst the likes of ?Sound Of A Revolution? and ?Piggy In The Middle? satiate the fans, and blast through the room.

Closing out a tour on home turf has its advantages. Firstly, a band will always enjoy coming across friendly faces. Secondly, by the end of tour, the set tends to be honed within an inch of its life. That?s particularly useful when your home town is the scrutiny seeped London. THE KING BLUES [3.5/5] prove to be a well-oiled machine, professional yet passionate, and trained in entertaining what could be a fastidious audience.

Tonight?s performances blueprint is the performance that Punktastic caught earlier in the year, heavily focused on this month?s brand new record, only this time there?s extra time to cram in a bevy of earlier material. Across nearly 75 minutes, The King Blues flex an assorted bicep of style. ?We Are Fucking Angry? and ?Let?s Hang The Landlord? (that killer opening pairing) are bangers, while the introspective likes of ?Underneath This Lamppost Light? and ?Five Bottles Of Shampoo? give time for a breather. Then there are those (controversial, maybe?) big pop choruses in ?Headbutt? and ?Set The World On Fire?.

Maybe it?s the vast venue but tonight?s set is just a little off. Perhaps it?s the short layoff since Punktastic caught the band. Perhaps it?s just that the performance at The Garage was a little special (while the joy of being in London isn?t lost tonight, it does dip below the emotion displayed at that show). Perhaps it?s that this is a long set – the longest the band has played. Or maybe it?s just that The King Blues won?t be playing in the street after the show tonight. It?s a long time since those Purple Turtle days and a lot of things have changed. But one things remains constant, The King Blues And Friends is always a show worth watching, even on those nights when not everything is perfect.


All photos by JOSEPH DUNCAN