Live Review: King Nun – Liverpool

King Nun

Sound, Liverpool, 18th February 2020

Words and Photos by Gary Lambert

On the Monday night, King Nun cancelled their show in Birmingham due to the ill health of singer, Theo.  This meant that I put King Nun tweets on notify for a day because I was desperate for this show to go ahead.  Their live show is one of the very best around, and in last year’s album Mass, they had possibly my favourite release of 2020.  This visit to the basement of Sound was a night I had been looking forward to, and thankfully the cancellation tweet never appeared.

CassiddyOpening up the night was young hopefuls, Cassiddy, and they totally surprised me.  Four young lads with similar haircuts usually means by-the-book indie, but from the opening guitar play I knew I was watching something much different.  Whilst the singing had me thinking of local lad Louis Berry, the sound of the band was based many years ago far away from Liverpool to the Deep South of the United States as blues and country tones blasted out.  It was mightily impressive from a band so young.  Maybe next time they might want to take it down a notch though as it was noticeable, even without the singer commenting on it, that they were shattered by the final track.

BanditNext up was a band I recognised but had not yet seen before in Bandit.  I was pleased to see that former Caveparty band member Ricardo Ulloa was back in Liverpool with his guitar in hand as it made me certain that we were in for a musical treat.  And we were as musically Bandit offered a sonic power that the average Arctic Monkeys inspired act does not have.  One drawback of taking such a powerful inspiration is that you can come across as too focused on sounding like your idols rather than finding your niche.  And I would say that if you are going to do a poem in the middle of a set commit to doing it, don’t try to laugh it off as a “drinking game”.  Poetry needs respect even if your tone is self-deprecating.  Instead it felt a bit flat and LadBible.

Then it was time for the act I had been waiting for.  And despite the obvious lingering effects of the germs that caused the previous day’s gig to be rebooked, King Nun were fantastic.  I left this gig thinking that King Nun have the potential to take on the world, and leave it in their wake conquered.  Usually for sell out gigs, the audience is made up of a fairly obvious demographic, but there was such variety of people in that basement that it could have been an advert for a bank or a fast food restaurant.  I mean it’s not often that you go to a gig where a couple are happily dancing, like proper end of the night at a wedding dancing, whilst the adjacent pair are screaming the lyrics to Black Tree into each other’s face like nothing else on earth matters.

King Nun 1When King Nun play it feels like King Nun is everything such is the asphyxiating atmosphere choking our souls with tension and power.  It’s like the sound of a disco in Valhalla.  Thunderous, dangerous, and wondrous, it’s no wonder that people are dancing to songs that beat with benevolent violence.  The screens on stage with the band too create the feeling of being at an arena gig, but with the arena held in a vice slowly getting smaller.  As Theo somehow exclaims despite the ropes around his vocal chords that “we’re all outsiders, being in here away from the streets and the world enjoying ourselves is what it’s all about” before a raucous Mascara Runs, it feels a more perfect summation of the night than I can find.

Going upstairs into the real world once more I pondered the big question in my mind…  When’s my next King Nun gig?

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