Dan Reed/The King Lot: Dreadnought Rock, Bathgate, 1st July 2017

ian sutherland
Words and Pictures: Ian Sutherland

dan reed

Dan Reed and The King Lot are old friends so it was no surprise that they got the call to support the American troubadour on this acoustic show in their back yard. The beardy Scottish melodic rockers have been working hard the last couple of years and as a result already have a bunch of friends in the crowd before they start.

Their thoughtful and upbeat take on melodic rock transfers well to an acoustic setting, and frontman Jason Sweeney has his trademark grin on his face as he leads his bandmates through a set mixing well known tracks from their debut album like 'One Of These Days' and 'Addicted' along with as yet unreleased numbers from the forthcoming follow up.

Drummer Chris Gillon looks like he's enjoying being up front and centre for a change, sitting on his acoustic cajon drum and getting the chance to show how vital to those trademark harmonies his voice is. New guitarist Jay Moir, who has completed the trio of beards in the band, is less comfortable as he is suffering the after effects of being hit by a taxi a couple of days earlier but his playing is still exemplary.

dan reed

This was the usual cheerful, enjoyable kind of show you always get from The King Lot. However as well as being a likeable bunch they have some really good songs and the new tunes aired tonight sounded very promising indeed. I look forward to hearing the new album before the end of the year.

If you know Dan Reed's story, through the near stardom with his Network band to the drug addiction that followed his disillusion with that life, looking at him on the cosy stage at the Dreadnought tonight you would conclude that he has ended up where in life he is supposed to be. It's not easy to do solo acoustic shows, to keep a crowd interested and entertained with only one voice and an acoustic guitar. Dan makes it look easy. So comfortable with the format and his audience he doesn't even bother with a set list any more. He knows what he'll start with and finish with and the rest is made up on the spot or a request shouted out from the crowd.

dan reed

For me it's in this format that his newer solo material works best and the sheer passion that shines through his takes on songs like crowd favourite 'Closer' and a highly energetic 'Avalanche' is spellbinding. Even when someone requests 'Broken Soul' and he struggles to remember the lyrics, he just gets a fan to get them up on their phone and hold them for him on stage while he sings. Relaxed and confident doesn't even begin to describe where this man is as a performer right now.

Some tracks from the forthcoming 'Confessions' album got an airing and sounded promising, while he also threw in a couple of covers in his alternative and hugely respectful take on Dio's 'Holy Diver' and an unexpected yet beautifully arranged version of Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling In Love'.

Of course there had to be a selection of DRN tunes too and they were magnificent tonight, from the crowd pleasing 'Ritual' and truly funky (on just an acoustic guitar mind) takes on 'Tiger In A Dress' and 'Get To You' to a heartfelt rendition of a deeper cut in 'Salt Of Joy'.

Nothing could faze Mr Reed tonight, not even being joined on stage by an over enthusiastic fan; he just enjoyed the moment and sang and laughed with her until she was removed. This was just a positive, life affirming experience of a gig, a confident artist happy with his life and sharing that optimistic attitude and outlook despite the craziness in the world today. The word Trump may have been mentioned a couple of times during what felt like conversations he was having with all of us, but it was the sheer heart shown from the start to the a capella ending that stayed with you afterwards. A terrific gig and a great experience too.

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The King Lot

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Dan Reed

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Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.

4th July 2017

metal talk