TUESDAY evening saw ska-punk group The King Blues deliver a powerful politically-fueled set to a sold out crowd within the intimate walls of Manchester Academy 3.
Ahead of their first full length release since 2012, ‘The Gospel Truth’, vocalist Jonny “Itch” Fox and band mates are currently making their way through a series of UK and European tour dates, combining new tracks with older work.
Warming up the Manchester stage was local three-piece The Blinders, followed by upcoming singer-songwriter Louise Distras. The three acts shared one goal – they wanted their voices to be heard. The small venue was the ideal place in which to attempt that and the packed crowd loved it.
— Chris Hawkins (@ChrisHawkinsUK) January 31, 2017
After both support acts, the lights went down and the stage shone as Itch made his way out in front of the crowd dressed in a suave dark green suit. He posed the question “What If Punk Never Happened?” instantaneously and burst straight into an impressive recital of thought-provoking spoken word.
Joined by the rest of the group, the five-piece then ensured that nobody in the crowd was left standing still. The personal lyrics of “Let’s Hang The Landlord” filled the room alongside its catchy tune and Itch was crowd surfing within the first minute.
The ongoing party started there. Fans didn’t even have to be encouraged to shout along to the lyrics of 2011 tracks ‘I Want You’ and ‘Set The World On Fire’.
Combining guitars, drums, cow bells and a ukulele, The King Blues delivered every song with as much passion and energy as the last. Referring to Theresa May, Donald Trump and the rough sleepers of Manchester, their social messages also remain just as important today as they were when first established back in 2004.
Throughout the tour so far, the group have encouraged gig-goers to donate food and sanitary products at the venues to be distributed to local food banks. With Itch thanking the crowd and sharing that the result has been amazing, it proves that this is a band who want to use their status to benefit others.
This sold out tour is life affirming. You have all been bringing SO much food for the local soup kitchens for the homeless each night pic.twitter.com/WJmNeAfoih
— iTCH (@itchsspeeches) January 29, 2017
The buzzing atmosphere dropped slightly as Itch took to his ukulele and performed a few solo songs, starting with a witty love song: ‘Underneath This Lampost Light’.
Arms and phone screen lights were being waved in the air as he continued to own the stage. Four songs later, the rest of the band, The Blinders and Louise Distras all joined him on the stage for a special version of ‘My Boulder’, which caused the crowd to erupt once again.
Mirroring the community feel in the crowd, all of the musicians on stage were genuinely enjoying themselves and it was refreshing to see such an energetic performance from a range of people.
Demonstrating their varied collection of songs, The King Blues paired ska track ‘Mr Music Man’ with intense numbers, such as ‘Headbutt’ and ‘When The Revolution Comes’. The crowd swayed their bodies before seamlessly taking to jumping with fists in the air and throwing themselves into circle pits.
The diversity of the two hour long set ensured that the overall performance was enjoyed by everyone in the crowd. Bringing it to a close with some smooth acappella – ‘If I Had A Coin’ and fan favourite ‘Save The World, Get The Girl’, it became clear why the group still remain firmly within the hearts of fans over ten years on.