King’s X at Assembly Hall Islington, London - live review

Texan trio still have the X factor

Crowd shot
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

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Back in the late 80s/early 90s, many thought King’s X could, and indeed should, have been huge. Quite why that never happened remains perplexing and open to conjecture; they were in the right place, at the right time, with the right music both on record and in performance. But, like most ‘cult’ bands, they built a fiercely devoted following. On one occasion between songs, vocalist/bassist Dug Pinnick makes a reference to the recent terrorist atrocities. On another there’s a swelling audience chant of “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” a reach-out to drummer Jerry Gaskill who survived two heart attacks. Both are clearly heart-felt.

Tonight it’s evident even right from the off that the UK branch of that following has sustained, and it becomes increasingly evident with each song that King’s X still have whatever the X factor was that made this Texan trio special in the first place. Fan favourites (most of the set) including The World Around Me, Dogman, Summerland, We Were Born To Be Loved and Over My Head are performed with a potent mix of power and precision, while at any and every opportunity the audience join in enthusiastically with word-perfect choruses; set-closer Goldilox is completely audience sung, while the band appear genuinely thrilled by the spontaneity and depth of the audience participation.

King’s X might have missed to boat in terms of fame and fortune, but in other ways their ship still comes in every time they play.

Paul Henderson

Classic Rock’s production editor for the past 22 years, ‘resting’ bass player Paul has been writing for magazines and newspapers, mainly about music, since the mid-80s, contributing to titles including Q, The Times, Music Week, Prog, Billboard, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and International Musician. He has also written questions for several BBC TV quiz shows. Of the many people he’s interviewed, his favourite interviewee is former Led Zep manager Peter Grant. If you ever want to talk the night away about Ginger Baker, in particular the sound of his drums (“That fourteen-inch Leedy snare, man!”, etc, etc), he’s your man.