Boardmasters bounces to The King Blues' genre-hopping tunes

Relentless Boardmasters 2009 review

published: Wed 12th Aug 2009

The King Blues

Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th August 2009
Watergate Bay, nr Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4AN, England MAP
£54.99 adult ticket for both days, £14.99 per beach session
daily capacity: 12500
last updated: Wed 5th Aug 2009

London's The King Blues have enough band members to more or less fill the Main Stage for their late afternoon set.

With two guitarists, a mandolin player, all manner of percussion, bass and drums, the seven-piece whip up a diverse and interesting sound, flirting with ska, pop-punk, folk and reggae. Their songs of protest and social commentary are overtly political and fired from a left-of-centre-position and their set is engaging throughout.

The King Blues
Opening song 'Blood On My Hands' has a loose reggae feel and a shuffling latin beat, embellished by twinkling mandolin, and features the defiant protest line "I won't give my life away, I won't have blood on my hands". It's greeted by a sizeable, appreciative roar from an increasingly large crowd who have dragged themselves away from the beach and up the cliff side.

On 'Let's Hang The Landlord' singer Jonny Fox's voice turns from its warm reggae-ska tones to a thick cockney punk snarl. Taken from last year's album 'Save The World Get The Girl', it's influenced heavily by The Clash and a defiant, spiky anthem, with an instantly catchy chorus, delivered with in-your-face petulance, Fox commanding his audience to "Get the fuck up!"

The King Blues
The dubby skank of 'Mr Music Man' sees, the Estuary English edge slip away from Fox's voice as things turn reggae again for a moment. Its lazy, loping sounds work perfectly, floating across the heads of the sun-drenched crow towards the cliff's edge and the sparkling waves below.

Fox berates the BNP before unveiling a cover of Tracy Chapman's 'Talking About A Revolution', the barked vocal stripping bare the lilting, wistful feel of the original, and something of a Radio 1 One Big Weekend moment develops as a captivated crowd resort to synchronised arm waving.

The King Blues
'These Streets Are Ours'is dedicated to "The RAF stand over there, who are trying to sign people up as cannon fodder. Fuck them!" It's another spiky protest song, again evoking The Clash.

The gentle acoustic guitar of 'My Boulder' is quickly swept aside by gnarly pop-punk, with an infectious melodic chorus that bares more than a passing resemblance to George Harrison's cover of Rudy Clark's 'I Got My Mind Set On You'. Another handbrake turn in direction by The King Blues then sees them launching headlong into a cover of Dizzee Rascal's 'Bonkers', roared on by a bouncing throng in front of the Main Stage.

The King Blues' conscious punk, ska and reggae, depth of ideas and political consciousness make them a stimulating, surprise find and their set is a genre-hopping success.
review by: Gary Walker

photos by: Steve Palmer

Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th August 2009
Watergate Bay, nr Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4AN, England MAP
£54.99 adult ticket for both days, £14.99 per beach session
daily capacity: 12500
last updated: Wed 5th Aug 2009


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