Little Red Kings, Horsey Beer Festival review: a belting set
- Credit: Tracey Bagshaw
From a national festival to a field next to a pub in North Norfolk, Little Red Kings show why they are a band on the up, says ADAM AIKEN.
A few weeks ago, Little Red Kings made the journey from Norfolk to Ramblin' Man Fair - one of the country's top classic-rock festivals - where they were on the bill with The Darkness and Foreigner.
That must seem a world away from the Horsey Beer Festival, which is a cosy occasion in a field next to a pub, where bands play on the back of a lorry trailer.
There's something endearingly shambolic about the whole thing - no one seems too bothered to worry about the published stage times, and it emerges that the band themselves didn't know they were playing this event until a couple of days ago. And halfway through, the band realise they've got to extend their setlist as they've got longer on stage than they'd originally thought.
Yet despite the friendliness around the whole place, this is arguably a trickier crowd to please than the thousands of punters at Ramblin' Man. On that occasion, the Kings were playing to the converted. Here, they've got to contend with a crowd more interested in trying half a pint of No 19 from the beer list or waiting to pounce as soon as the family on the nearby table shows the slightest hint of preparing to vacate their spot.
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The "mosh pit" at the front of the stage, meanwhile, consists of a couple of three-year-olds doing roly-polys together, oblivious to the rock masterclass taking place a few feet away.
It all gives us a good barometer as to how this five-piece are received. Starting with a few lukewarm handclaps after the first couple of numbers - Blacken and the brilliant Josephine - interest in the Kings grows during the evening, and by the end of the set they have won a lot of new fans.
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The unexpected extension to their timeslot gives the band a chance to play a couple of slower numbers, and we also get some new material from their upcoming album. The whole thing crescendos towards the end of the set, with songs such as No Friend and Said To Me getting more and more people on to their feet. A couple of adults even dare to take their lives in their own hands and venture to join the toddlers down the front.
Bands on the up do well to grab whatever opportunities they are given, and it's great seeing them approach a huge rock festival and a small beer festival in North Norfolk with the same enthusiasm. It's all done with good humour, too, and frontman Jason Wick does a nice line in gentle self-deprecation when his attempts at audience participation are met with a less-than-deafening response.
With the quality of their songs and performances such as this, in a few years' time Little Red Kings should be playing in more salubrious settings. It's a belting set, and the Kings have the air of a band prepared to put in the hard graft as they slowly but surely climb the ladder of the music scene.