So here we are at Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms for FM, the UK’s premium AOR outfit, but first up are local lads The King Lot. The setlist tonight is pulled from last year’s self titled album which came out to great reviews and rightly so.
As Chris kicks in with the drums the lads kick off with “Let’s Get Together”. Jason on bass/lead vocals is in fine form tonight along with Michael on guitar/backing vocals with his customary swagger and cap that seems always glued to his head – the band are so comfortable on any stage. They launch into “Addicted” next, a riff-laden tune with a very catchy hook section. “Telegram” next – the band have a knack of writing very catchy tracks with a hook section that is easy to sing along with.
They kick off next with Jason’s sonic laden riff attack in the form of “As They Burn”, always one of my live highlights of theirs. Another riff/hook laden monster next as “One of These Days” is belted out. It is these kind of songs that get them so many prestigious support slots and also as the backing band for Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate) on his last UK tour. The last gig I saw them on was with The Dan Reed Network in Glasgow. This is a band destined not to be the support for much longer – catch them when you get the chance!
Next up is the single from the album “Until My Dying Day”. Check out the official video on youtube. The band end an all too short set with “The Bang of a Drum” with Michael’s guitar wailing away on just a great track to end the set. This is a band you will want to hear more of to be sure, and judging by the comments on the night they will have gained more fans here at the Liquid rooms.
The King Lot setlist:
- Let’s Get Together
- As They Burn
- One of These Days
- Until My Dying Day
- The Bang of a Drum
The main event now in the AOR shape of FM. It’s hard to believe they formed way back in 1984. It has been a few years since I have seen them live, and this time the band are on the road promoting the excellent new album Heroes and Villains with a short 10 date UK tour.
They launch into the set with the first track from the new album, “Digging up the Dirt”. I have to wonder why I left it so long – this is a band who should be up there with Foreigner, Journey, Def Leppard & Van Halen. I have to say the vocals of Steve Overland have to be heard to be believed, spellbindingly good with a very tight band behind him.
Up next is “I Belong to the Night” from the Indiscreet album which would not be out of place on any leading American AOR band’s album. The crowd here tonight are all singing, clapping along with gusto. FM can do no wrong here. “Don’t Stop” is up next from Tough it Out, a cracking stomping track from the early days. If you like your classic AOR with hook lines, riffs galore delivered by a vocalist on fine form you will not be disappointed.
We head back to 92’s Aphrodisiac album with the soaring “Closer to Heaven”, truly stunning live. “All or Nothing” from the same album follows. FM should be stadium size at least in the States and arenas here in the UK. The keyboards of Jem Davis lead us into “Let Love be the Leader”, easily one of my favourites here tonight. Another new one next with “Life is a Highway” – this is a band at the top of their game with the new album. If there is a duff track on the album I dare you to find it.
It is hard to stay focused on the review with a band this on form and obviously enjoying themselves as we kick into the melodic ballad “Frozen Heart” from Indiscreet, a bit of “Tough Love” next from 2013’s Rockville (a much more classic rock affair with hints of early Def Leppard). Another slice of classic rock next in the guise of “Wildside”, and a stunning version of “Someday” follows a real crowd pleaser of a track.
A number of early tracks on show tonight and “Burning my Heart Down” is no exception, closely followed by “Tough it Out” – just classic rock at its finest. The opening track from Indiscreet follows with “That Girl”, a power ballad supreme. A bit of “Bad Luck” followsthat – classic AOR guitars/keyboard mix with soaring vocals, fantastic.
The band head off for the obligatory encore which kicks of with “Story of My Life” with Steve and Jem in total harmony, soaring keyboards and soaring vocals a true highlight tonight. We end a very quick night – or so it seems – with the rocking “Other Side of Midnight”. The crowd I think would have stayed all night with a band in this kind of form. It was truly a great pleasure to review this band tonight. I would say go see them live on this tour if you can, buy the new album and revel in the fact that UK AOR is safe, well and thriving in the form that is FM.
- Digging up the Dirt
- I Belong to the Night
- Don’t Stop
- Closer to Heaven
- All or Nothing
- Let Love be the Leader
- Life is a Highway
- Frozen Heart
- Tough Love
- Burning my Heart Down
- Tough it Out
- That Girl
- Bad Luck
- Story of my Life
- Other Side of Midnight
All photos by Gary Cooper