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King’s X

Live Love In London
Very often I get into deep conversations with other musicians on the merits of rock bands down the ages. Having seen many, with all their good points and flaws I usually have a view, but it’s only my view. I don’t think the depth and soul of the original Whitesnake has yet to be bettered by Mr Coverdale, the original Santana had a verve and power that has only rarely been touched on by subsequent lineups, early Thin Lizzy shows were notable for Lynott being as interested in eying the female members of the audience as playing the right bassnotes, Led Zeppelin had wonderful basslines and guitar bursts but patchy songs and singing and generally OTT drumming with none of the subtlety of Appice/Cassidy/Bunker/Mitchell ( before you start spluttering I did see the original LZ twice). HOWEVER I am most thanked for recommending a listen to King’s X. They are to rock what Taj Mahal is to the blues and R&B. The songs are fantastic varied and well-crafted, they use atmosphere and dynamics better than any ensemble I know, they all sing (!) and for my money they connect better than almost any current rock band or artist.
The most common remark by any listener new to King’s X is usually is that they sound very fresh. Doomy at times, desperate at others, confident but not cocky. All this plus stunning solo’s with none of this Slash same-tone-all-the-time nonsense.
Hence it’s good to report that this stylish and powerful trio have released a ‘live in London’ double album – what a souvenir of an accomplished outfit.
Selections here include the insistent and choppy ‘Lost In Germany’, the blast that is ‘Black Flag’, the weird but somehow natural-sounding ‘Dogman’, the gorgeous and evocative arpeggios of ‘Summerland’, fan favourite ‘Over My Head’ and the strident ‘Pleiades’. If you know King’s X you already want this record. Is it a good intro to the trio ? I’d say yes, by virtue of the song selection. It’s hard to pick a setlist when you’ve made many records, but it’s hard to fault what’s picked for inclusion here.
Moments I like : Ty Tabor’s grinding guitar on opener ‘Groove Machine’, Jerry Gaskill’s Cactus-like drum attack to ‘What Is this ?’ , the stabbing Dug Pinnick’s bass on ‘Pray’…..the paced nobility of ‘Julie’, how many ‘rock’ bands have this tenderness ? ‘We Were Born To Be Loved’ has a battering approach that is pure heyday Sugar, most bands can’t do this kind of number and stay in control of the electric surge within. Moments later they spin out the stately intro to ‘Goldilox’, a tricky piece…then the audience does all the initial singing, what a moment.
A real treat and not just for established followers, well done King’s X

Pete Sargeant

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