On a dreary Saturday afternoon, the people of York, on Yorkshire Day, were treat to a special matinee show from The King Blues, which, ambitiously, was the first of two shows they were playing that day, performing in Middlesbrough just a few hours later.
Playing to a sparsely-filled room, the acoustic solo act of Don’t Let Paris Fool You (now a duo according to MySpace) kicked off the afternoon’s proceedings and did so very well. Local lad Elliot, with a bottle of Fosters and acoustic guitar, along with his quirky charm and amusing crowd interaction – asking a random to spontaneously name one of his songs – provided a strong and confident performance, which was enjoyed by, literally, the tens of people on the floor; there was something very endearing about this young man.
From the initial sight of the winkle pickers, you could tell that this wasn’t going to go down particularly well, as the indie rock trio of Mates of Dave followed. Having only played their first show in June, this was an impressively tight performance, as they played with more spunk and charisma than your typically stagnant indie drivel and even added a kazoo into the mix during the aptly-named Plastic Kazoo. However, Mates of Dave were most definitely out-of-place and would have been far more suited supporting a band like The Cribs than The King Blues, as the most they received out of their somewhat uninterested audience was a polite clap.
Despite there being an awkward afternoon gig-vibe, with a max of 100-people in the 500-capacity venue – due to a recent location change – The King Blues, as always, gave it their all.
Fresh from playing a number of festivals this summer, the socio and politically-conscious rogues brought their unique concoction of sounds and instruments to The Duchess in York, as they opened with their epic Intro flowing nicely into the acoustic-y punk reggae fusion of Blood On My Hands. Another old favourite, from debut album Under The Fog, the dub-influenced Mr Music Man got most of the crowd grooving along.
A good mixture of material was performed, with the fairly lacklustre and subdue crowd perking up during the feel-good and more well-known poppy tunes of My Boulder and I Got Love. A highlight of the set being protest anthem The Streets Are Ours, with the frenzied addition of cowbells and whistles riling up the crowd with fist-in-the-air chants and sing-a-longs, showcasing an exuberant amount of energy and passion found at most King Blues shows that sets them apart from the rest.
Regardless of ending quite abruptly with Save The World, Get The Girl, with the those in attendance yearning and adamantly waiting for an encore they didn’t get, The King Blues still proved why they are repeatedly called the best live band in the UK; an always blisteringly inspiring band live.
An interview with Itch, frontman of The King Blues, shall be posted very soon!