King Charles has been one of my favourite artists for a long time, his quirky original sound caught my attention two years ago and from then I have been a massive fan. He announced that he was back on tour this year, travelling around the UK and when I saw he was coming to Birmingham, well I couldn’t resist. Last Friday I had the opportunity to see him perform at The Institute in Birmingham. King Charles hails from West London, his debut album Loveblood released in 2012 was well received, and from then on he hasn’t released any more music. I know what a way to create suspense, leaving fans such as myself eager to hear more.
When I arrived at the gig with my friends in tow, I was surprised that there was no queue outside wondering had we come to the wrong place. Once inside, I was immediately hit with the blaring sound of a guitar riff and the hustle and bustle of people shuffling. From a quick glance I was surprised that the venue wasn’t as full as I expected it to be, but in defence it was only the support act so more arrived later. On stage performing were the duo Gallery Circus [7/10], two identical twins brothers who hail from Newcastle. Looking around I could see that not many people knew who they were but that was no problem, as their music immediately warmed up the crowd causing us to dance and sing along. Their music can only be described as a mash of rock and blues; with only the two of them onstage creating such passion I was amazed as to how they were doing it all. I think at one point they managed to simultaneously play the piano, guitar and drums whilst singing. It was rather strange to have such a rock style band supporting King Charles who is known to veer more towards a folk alternative sound, but somehow it worked with the energy created on stage gearing the crowd up, as we awaited the King himself. It was not usually the style of music I particularly like to listen to but it was a pleasure experiencing the rawness that the two brothers created between them.
What feel like an eternity we waited for King Charles [10/10], managing to squeeze in a cheeky pint before his set started. The crowd certainly got bigger, more and more people coming meaning that whilst we waited we decided to tally up all the beards we saw, lets just say we lost count easily. Finally, King Charles came onstage to a massive chant from the crowd. I was immediately disappointed that he has know got rid of the mountain of dreadlocks on his head and magnificent moustache but the music made up for this loss I feel.
He began his set with ‘The Brightest Lights’, his iconic song that features Mumford and Sons, although they sadly didn’t make an appearance. This instantly set the tone for the gig, with the following songs keeping the upbeat environment cause us to dance and sing along. Throughout the gig they played a mixture of songs from their first album such as Loveblood and new material that we hadn’t heard before, I assuming off the new album, which has yet to be released. Their set wasn’t long at all just running to under an hour, in which they went offstage despite the whole crowd chanting for an encore. Unsure of whether he would appear again we waited nervously until he came back onstage, creating the highlight of the night for me. As they proceeded to cover of one of my favourite songs Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ which caused me to jump up and down with joy within the first chords being played. King Charles cleverly merged Simon’s iconic song with his song ‘Lady Percy’ which is also my favourite song from him.
Overall, the show was amazing. Despite the small crowd for such a talented artist, The Institute was a perfect size as I think anything bigger would of swamped the crowd and ruined the atmosphere. It was also lovely that both Gallery Circus and King Charles took the time at the end to hang around and speak to fans. I would happily go and see him again: any time, anywhere.