King Harvest & The Weight is Ben Adey (lead vocals and bass), Justin Edley (drums) and Oliver Smith (guitar and vocals). Starting life in June 2015 as Ben Adey's solo project, the core foundation of the band emerged through the process of recording the material (written by Ben) which would become the debut album, "Maps". The album, released on 20th June 2016, provides a fresh take on classic 1970s rock stylings, with twists of power-pop and funk, and it has already received praise from a number of respected rock journalists and musicians, including Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy. On hearing the album, I was struck by the dynamic playing and the killer hooks and riffs. I know that comparisons can be odious but useful reference points might be Thin Lizzy, Humble Pie, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and The Cars.
King Harvest & The Weight's gig at Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms on 26th June, as part of the band's album launch tour, provided an early and welcome opportunity to hear the songs in a live setting.
Local band, The Eastern Swell (formerly Lainie & The Crows), warmed the audience up nicely with some 1960s-influenced, blues-based psychaedelic rock.
King Harvest & The Weight served up a powerhouse performance, maintaining incredible energy and intensity levels throughout. The trio are all very fine musicians and together they form a very well-drilled unit, delivering a tight and crisp sound. Ben Adey's commanding vocals and formidable bass playing provided a focal point and he produced just the right amount of swagger for his front-man role. Justin Edley's drumming provided a rock-solid foundation for the band's sound and Oliver Smith contributed backing vocals, crunching guitar riffs and a series of fluid and inventive solos.
The band rocked out a number of the standout songs from the "Maps" album plus a sprinkling of new songs, a couple of which saw Ben and Oliver share the lead vocals. The highlights of a sparkling set included the irresistible riffs and guitar licks on the exhilarating "When It Stops" and "This Town"; the wistful vocals on the mid-paced rockers "Dream" and "Roads"; the free-wheeling flow of "Morning Light"; the punchy insistency of the hook-laden "Unstuck"; the tough-but-tender elegance of the slow-burning "Bloodsport"; and the soulful groove of the brooding "New York Is Dangerous", featuring enthusiastic audience participation in the form of handclaps and singalong on the choruses.
This fine set from King Harvest & The Weight provided a powerful reminder of why rock was so popular in the 1970s and also underlined its enduring appeal and relevance.
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