The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




18TH MAY 2013



On of the things we wanted to do inbetween the Arean shows on this trip to the UK was to pick up some great local music that we think have what it takes to go far. Top of the list was London band KING LIZARD who we were told were one of the best live Hard Rock bands in the UK (and on the evidence of their two fine albums how could we argue?). We travelled back to my old stomping grounds in Nottingham to see them, and we ween't disappointed...



I’ve wanted to see these guys live ever since I heard their debut ‘Viva La Decadence’, and now that they have that tricky second album ‘It’s a Nightmare Living the Dream’ under their belts, which has all the quality of the debut, it was just a matter of seeing if they delivered live. The great news for fans of down and dirty Hard Rock is that they do – in spades.



It’s always great to see a band in a small setting where there’s nothing to hide and it all comes down to how the band interacts with the crowd and most importantly how good the songs are.   



The Salutation Inn has been around for hundreds of years and 20 years ago I used to be a regular in the upstairs rooms at the Rock Nights – twenty years later it’s both surprising and pretty damn cool that very little has changed. It’s a small room, in a pub that serves great beer and has one of the best jukeboxes I’ve seen. Tonight King Lizard’s support comes in the form of ‘Lovebite’ and ‘Voodoo Vegas’ both decent local bands worth checking out - - Voodoo Vegas with a distinct classic hard rock vibe and ‘Lovebite’ more reminiscent of the Glammier end of the eighties – a concoction of bands like Motley and Tuff.



King Lizard is another proposition entirely though, and despite line-up changes of the years this is a tight band with two amazing hard rock albums behind them, and tonight we get a taste of their very best. If you love your Guns ‘n’ Roses then King Lizard is a band you need to see and proof that there is plenty of life and plenty of talent in the UK at the moment.




Rain On You | It's a Sin | I Can't Be Your Lover | Hair of the Dog | Nightmare | This Ain’t Love | Never Be Mine | Riot | Viva La Decadence | Hell Yeah | Kant Kill Rock N Roll | Johnny B Goode



Rather than warm up the band starts with the blistering ‘Rain on You’ from their 2010 debut ‘Viva La Decadence’ it’s the sort of song that immediate underlines the sheer quality of the band, who work hard to make everyone in the room feel part of the show. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to get the crowd near the stage but King Lizard’s Flash works the room like a pro, spitting out the slightly darker edged ‘It’s a Sin’ from the latest album before launching into ‘I Can’t Be Your Lover’ which is the sort of song that has such an intensity on record it has to be seen to be believed live – it’s nothing less than world class.



‘The only sure for a hangover is to drink more’ comes the cry as the band launch into ‘Hair of the Dog’ by this time of course both Niro and Lee are atop the amps head-banging away as the very dextrous and wonderfully-named Moyano El Buffalo anchors things at the back.



Flash Sawyer is a great front man, who manages to get the balance between Axl Rose and Dave lee Roth just right – plenty of attitude, a sprinkling of humour and a lot of charm work well no matter what size the stage, though on tonight’s performance you know these guys will be doing bigger things given the breaks. It’s fitting then that the title track from the new album ‘It’s a Nightmare Livin’ the Dream’ is dedicated to ‘every band that’s out there trying to make it’.



‘Nightmare’ is a great song and a clear set piece, there’s a snatch of Poison’s ‘…Good Time’ thrown in as if to underline the point and the refrain ‘No job, no cash, no future’ gets the crowd singing back. We even get a mini drum solo; it’s one of the highlights of the night, which if anything only gets better.



‘This Ain't Love’ is dedicated to excess and sounds so much better live turned up to ten, while ‘Never be Mine’ has a riff to die for and some wonderful guitar work by Mr Niro Knox ‘The Beast from the Middle East’ who solos with a bottle of beer upturned in his mouth: now this is a rock and roll show, with Flash climbing the amps and screaming out the chorus while everyone in the room looks on in disbelief.



It’s hard to know where we can go from there but gears are meaningless in Rock and Roll and ‘Riot’ is another chant-along winner before we storm into two of our favourites from the debut: the title track and ‘Hell Yeah’. Before you know it the night is over with the anthem from ‘Viva’ ‘You Kant Kill Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and a cover of the staple ‘Johnny B Goode’ that only really seems to start the after-party.



King Lizard is a band you need to see live.





words and images by Mark Diggins