This week, I counted how many bands I’ve photographed so far in 2017. King Nun came in at 203rd place. I’ve been a busy boy!
I mention this because it means I have spent a lot of time listening to dozens of bands that are new to me. King Nun are one of those – pretty much all I knew about them is the description on their Facebook page, a few tracks on YouTube, and a paragraph on the Reading/Leeds Festival website. Given the raw power of their video for “Tulip”, I was expecting a hi-octane show.
However, I wondered if I was missing something. Sure, King Nun are playing Reading/Leeds this weekend and seem to have a bit of a following, but to me, their live show was lacking a bit of zip. They seemed to be caught in between a number of genres, churning out music that isn’t pure garage, nor post-punk, nor indie, nor rock. Is there some sort of identity crisis going on? Maybe they are cutting their own new groove or just forming an amalgam of all of the above?
They spent the first 20 minutes trying to work out why Theo the front-man’s guitar wasn’t being amplified. One of their mates, who looked like he was playing at being a roadie, took that time to move a jacket around the stage. So Theo leapt between his Orange amp and antique-looking Fender, trying to find the loose wire or faulty jack-plug. (I’m sure I’ve photographed that same guitar recently). Even once it was fixed, they needed to tune up after every song. Nerves or just crap kit?
After the late start, they introduced themselves as, “We’re King Songs and we’ve got some…we’re King Nun and we’ve got some songs” and each subsequent tune was prefaced with, “This is another song”. Again, nerves or just crap banter?
The standard four-piece line up seemed to plod through their set – maybe in preparation for the mud that will no doubt greet them at Leeds (which has had a deluge this week). I was surprised that their on-stage performance didn’t mirror their on-line offer, which is full of energy and in-your-face bravado. Saving themselves for the big day maybe. My fave track of the night was probably “Hung Around”, which reminded me of White Stripes‘ “My Doorbell”, only at half the speed.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh?
So I left thinking maybe it was actually me that was having a bad day. On reflection, King Nun could probably be bracketed with the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, INHEAVEN, Blackwaters, Cabbage, and Yak. Their track ‘“Speakerface” and Yak’s ‘“Harbour the Feeling” would be good together on anyone’s playlist.
I’m sure that King Nun will be well received by all those young people who are making the pilgrimage to Reading and Leeds with their GCSE results in their back pockets. And the Festival Republic tech crews will no doubt make sure that the kit works!
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Marcus Jamieson-Pond is a regular contributor to TheRevue. His collection of gig pix can be found at www.jampondphotography.com/gigs
This gig is one of a packed Autumn 2017 series promoted by Rock Feed Back.
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