Cambridge Junction, October 22, 2021
by Adam Aiken
When Rivers Meet play as a duo tonight – they’ll have a band to back them on next year’s headline tour – but any idea that this’ll be a gentle warm-up ahead of the main act is immediately shot to pieces.
Having had a more successful lockdown than many others (new songs, live streams and bags of awards), husband and wife team Aaron and Grace Bond easily fill the stage as they deliver their bluesy rock ‘n’ roll.
This is home territory for Grace (she’s from Ely, while Aaron hails from just over the Norfolk border a little way up the same railway line), but the welcome they receive is based on much more than that.
The thing about When Rivers Meet is the simplicity. Nothing comes as a surprise and the same minor-thirds permeate virtually every song yet, far from being tedious, it’s electrifying.
Some of Aaron’s guitar work is as sleazy as Joe Perry’s was back in his wild years, and Grace’s vocals and charisma help the six-song set whizz by.
The lack of live music since spring 2020 means King King could have probably just mailed it in and got away with it, but Alan Nimmo and friends have always delivered top-notch live shows, and tonight is no exception.
The opener, She Don’t Gimme No Lovin’, gets things off to a bouncing start, complete with four-pronged vocals in the chorus.
In One World, Jonny Dyke – not for the only time tonight – brings panache to the keys, particularly when he switches from Hammond to Fender Rhodes. (It’s hard to imagine a happier looking keyboard player since Rowlf in the Muppets graced our screens.)
That’s just one of several tunes we get from last year’s Maverick album, with the new songs slotting in neatly alongside the old stuff.
Listing highlights is a little unfair as it’s all top notch, but Rush Hour and You Stopped the Rain stand out.
The best of the new songs is left for the encore – a brilliant duet by Alan and his brother Stevie, with just Dyke for accompaniment. When My Winter Comes was apparently written for a film soundtrack but then politely rejected. Whatever took its place must have been bloody good.
Then it’s welcome back to Zander Greenshields on bass and drummer Andrew Scott as we finish with Stranger to Love and Let Love In. The first of these two includes Alan’s trademark mesmerising solo (we can’t quite hear a pin drop, but we’re not far off), and it’s just one of the many occasions when he displays his wonderful talent without ever needing to cross the line and become a show-off.
He might be the only founding member left, but King King is no solo act. This is a tremendous five-piece at the top of their game who’ve come out of lockdown, if anything, even better than before.
If you aren’t at least tapping your foot tonight, live music probably isn’t for you.
To buy more photos from this show, click here to visit Laurence Harvey Photography