Airless, hot, smoky, overcrowded, why is it that tiny pub gigs are so much fun? The sort of gig that Mick Jagger can only dream about now. Musicians and music that can physically reach out and touch the audience. Alan Nimmo could almost physically touch the far wall of Godorfer Burg in Wesseling on Friday night it was so tiny. Whilst small pubs and clubs are of course where great music is born and raised it’s quite clear after another blistering show that King King are about to ‘fly the nest’ bigtime.
One hopes that Godorfer Burg wasn’t booked by an unwary English promoter who checked the name out in German and expected a gig in the German equivalent of Windsor Castle. Standing rather in the middle of nowhere in particular, and conspicuous mainly by the many Rolling Stones posters on the walls, this is basically a pub venue with space for maybe 80 people or 100 if the live act only has an acoustic guitar and doesn’t mind sharing his ‘stage’ with whiskey drinking rock n rollers. On this particular night the stage is filled not by pool tables or players but by assorted Gibsons and Fenders, a drumkit, a Hammond Organ – oh, and Alan Nimmo, Lyndsay Coulson, Wayne Proctor and Bob Fridzema collectively known as King King.
For a review of the music itself you need look no further than my report from the bands triumphant appearance in Troisdorf recently. The only change since then is a new man this time on Keyboards in the form of Dutchman Bob Fridzema who delivered some gobsmackingly great sounds and shone particularly when it came to duelling riffs with mainman Alan Nimmos Gibson. One could forgive the band if they had played a few half hearted tunes before splitting with the petrol money to take them on to the next days more lucrative gig in Winterbach. ‘half-hearted’ though is not a word in the King King dictionary.
A highlight was undoubtedly Nimmo’s hot and sweaty rendition of the Frankie Miller classic ‘Jealousy’ but THE highlight was without a doubt the Clapton classic ‘Old Love’. Usually dedicated to brother Stevie this time Alan Nimmo played it for ‘a very dear friend’ who died recently in tragic circumstances – Glasgow musician and local legend George Ross Watt*. There was background noise from people at the bar, but I doubt that Nimmo heard it. There’s a place that great guitarists go to when they solo and Alan Nimmo was there as he took his guitar volume down and down. How can it be that a guitar switched down to ‘1’ can sound louder than a dozen voices and glasses clinking?
It must be magic of course, nothing more than that. As the last note rolled out across the room Nimmo raised his eyes ceilingwards and smiled. I checked out ‘Big George’ on YouTube this morning and smiled too at hearing some great music: “smokey tones that would make Joe Cocker jealous and a style of guitar playing that would have had Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan nodding in approval” is how his website described George. The latter two gentlemen would have had the same thoughts about Alan Nimmos solo on Friday. Spine-tingling stuff indeed.
Even a blistering ‘Mr Highwayman’ to finish couldn’t nudge the memory of that earlier solo out of my head. By evenings end it was obvious that gigs of this size will soon be things of the past for this band in Europe. The next appearance in this area is already penciled in for Cologne’s Yardclub in November. I would be very surprised (and disappointed) if that was only a step up to the larger ‘Kantine’ stage next door – and, if there is any justice, to Lanxess Arena one day. Catch them in an Airless, hot, smoky, overcrowded, Club whilst you still can – it’s where legends are born.
* Ross Watts excellent disc ‘Alleged’ is available as a free download CLICK HERE and recommended to all lovers of raw rock blues.