by - 11:00 pm

Howdy all,

So I went to watch The King Blues live at The Fleece in Bristol. As a major, teenage fan of the band I spent a good amount of my youth in sweaty, writhing venues trawling through moshpits and cidery dreadlocks to get the best view of Jamie Jazz, Fruitbag and Itch shouting their melodic message of social revolution to hungry crowd. Excited beyond all belief to see the boys in action again after years of silence from the band, I donned my finest fishnets and dusted off the old skanking boots for some serious, toe-stomping action. 

Rolling up to The Fleece, a well-known Bristolian music hub and general cool hangout, I first noted some familiar, old faces. A few years down the line and not much changes for the Bristol revolutionary-punk scene. Same old mohawks, a smattering of tattooed skin and I felt right at home. Take me back seven years and I would have been in actual heaven. A hole-in-the-wall venue, tucked away next to a rowdy-looking piratey pub, I opened the dusty door of The Fleece to a tumultuous clashing of punk rock drums, chugging guitar and a shaggy-haired girl riling up the crowd in a thick Yorkshire accent. Settling down for the evening with a hip-flask of Bombay Sapphire (fuck paying for pricey drinks, I'm a poor student) and a newly purchased 'What If Punk Never Happened?' lyric t-shirt slung across my shoulders I inhaled the sweaty stench of solidarity and keen anticipation. Everybody was super keen for The King Blues to step out on stage...

With the fastest bar service I have ever experienced at a venue and a friendly staff, The Fleece boasts a large but intimate stage with an immense sound and lighting system to support the acts that come through the city. Squeezing through the gyrating crowd to the very front of the stage (as per) you get a shaking sense of musicality as the mighty PA system beats a heavy bassline through your very soul. After a bit of a jump around to the all-female, uber-punk support act Louise Distras and feeling thoroughly warmed up I was itching (pun) for the roaring, furious unification, cider-waving and fist-shaking that is synonymous of a King Blues show. 

A quick kit change and the stage was set. To a neon glowing 'TKB' sprayed onto the bass drum and a low-key backdrop, the boys marched out to a round of lairy applause and a enthusiastic cheers. Grabbing the microphone and determinedly introducing their first song, Itch started to shout out the words to 'Let's Hang The Landlord as the crowd moved frantically along to the guitars. Swept off my feet and carried away into the writhing mosh, I searched the stage for the other boys but was disappointed to see no Jamie and no Fruitbag. I had heard the band had fallen out big-time over several issues involving money, royalties and some professional differences and happened across a few furious blog posts and interviews demonising different members of the band. However I was hoping hard that it was mostly just whispers on the wind and the band would show up in full tonight to put on an epic show of punk-rock proportions, recapturing the magic of my teenage years. 

It was all a little bit sad for me. As truly fantastic as the music still was (and I'm really excited to hear the new album!) The King Blues were major heroes of mine as a kid and had a massive influence on the music I wrote, sung and listened to, so when I only got to see 1/3 of the trio perform again the inspirational element of the band kind of vanished. I guess you should never idolise anybody though, we're all just human beings really. 

Anyway, I had an amazing night at The Fleece and had a great sing-along to some of the old King Blues classics. Plus I haven't been in a proper mosh in a while so that was fun. Love a bruised rib me.  Here's to hoping The King Blues sort out their differences and reunite to release an epic album of unabashed punk rock, stopping Trumpism, Brexit and all the world's problems in their tracks. Or perhaps it's time I grow up and let go of the little band I used to sneak in to see play at Bristol's best dive bars. Either way here's a picture of Zanna throwing a dab by the toilets.

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