KING’S X (Live)

at O2 Academy 2, Newcastle, U.K., April 8, 2011

KING'S X (Live at O2 Academy 2, Newcastle, U.K., April 8, 2011)
Photo: Mick Burgess

King’s X are rather unique in the fickle world of the music business. Not only do they feature the very same line-up that cut the groundbreaking debut album Out Of The Silent Planet 23 years ago, they have retained their musical integrity over that period without compromise in the face of ever-changing musical fads.

Few bands can claim to have a unique sound, but a melting pot of Funk, Soul, Metal, and Psychedelia with progressive elements sprinkled on top for good measure gives King’s X that magical ingredient.

Perhaps multi-platinum success has eluded them over the years, yet they are held in such high esteem by their musical peers and have a strong, hardcore fan base that remains undiminished and fiercely loyal to this very day. Whenever they appear on stage they are assured of vociferous, committed support waiting to greet them, so it’s no surprise that the Academy 2 was packed with the King’s X faithful on a delightful spring evening in Newcastle for the opening night of their UK tour.

Opener “Groove Machine” is aptly named, encapsulating perfectly the vibe of the band while “What Is This”, with its killer chorus, gave Doug Pinnick the chance to show his range.

As a three-piece, King’s X are able to make an impressive sound that perhaps only the inimitable Rush able to top. Although each musician is a vital cog in the King’s X wheel, it is perhaps Pinnick who encapsulates the band’s sound with his smouldering, soulful voice, and one of the richest bass sounds you’ll ever hear on stage. Having said that, lead guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskell excel in their respective roles, and when they combine with their killer three part vocal harmonies, the King’s X sound is simply stunning.

The set was well balanced with “Summerland” showing off the sublime harmonies to full effect, while “Move” and a supercharged “Alright” rock hard, yet retain that supreme melodic edge. “Pray”, with its huge groove-laden riff created by Pinnick’s incredible 12 string bass, was uplifting while “Born To Be Loved” had King’s X at their most Progressive where the sweet harmonies were juxtaposed to the cutting time changes. It’s clear that the band has an almost telepathic understanding of each other gleaned from over a quarter of a century of playing together.

The performance of “Goldilox” was jaw dropping. How many bands can stand back and deliver an understated musical backing while leaving the entire crowd to sing the whole song from the very top of their voices? This was spine tingling stuff, where not only the band seemed visibly moved, but their roadies at the side of the stage too. This was the song where the band and crowd really bonded together.

Although Pinnick proclaims that it’s not one of his favorites, it didn’t show when “Over My Head” roared from the speakers, before “Visions” closes the set.

King’s X genuinely looked like they were having fun and wanted to be on stage and the enthusiastic Newcastle crowd lapped up every second. When the traditional early Friday night curfew curtailed the action, Pinnick proclaimed that the band would be at the merchandise stall until they were kicked out. True to his word, and within a matter of minutes the band were there meeting their fans in what was a nice touch to the end of the evening.

King’s X are a class act. There are no stage frills, no gimmicks, just classy musicianship and great songs well-played and you can’t ask for more than that.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.