We saw ahab at King’s Place as part of the King’s Cross venue’s folk ses­sions. Just for the record, Ahab (upper-case) are a Ger­man funer­al doom-met­al out­fit – to be remem­bered when googling them.

ahab (low­er case) saunter on stage at King’s Place. First on is Cal­lum Ander­son, play­ing the first few chords of a beau­ti­ful-sound­ing 12-string gui­tar. One by one, the oth­er band mem­bers enter and join in the open­ing track, the inter­play between the instru­ments increas­ing in com­plex­i­ty, with Luke Price’s man­dolin adding that uplift­ing coun­try kick.

It’s the gor­geous four-part har­monies which ulti­mate­ly define ahab, and cre­ate that feel-good jolt. I par­tic­u­lar­ly liked the dancey num­ber She’s Wear­ing Red which is intro­duced by Cal­lum ask­ing if any of the lay­deez in the audi­ence are wear­ing red (with his apolo­gies for sound­ing a bit Axl Rose). The most emo­tion-laden and catchy num­ber is the wist­ful Call a Wait­er.

ahab on stage 2013

Their own mate­r­i­al is strong with catchy hooks, and the only two num­bers not their own com­po­si­tion are a ren­di­tion of Dylan/Old Crow Med­i­cine Show’s ‘Wag­on Wheel’ and the open­ing track Sol­dier of the Lord, by Big Country.

As for the space, the sub-base­ment Hall 2 at King’s Place is a room set off the main gallery/bar area. It looks like a con­fer­ence venue, as Cal­lum men­tions dur­ing the show. How­ev­er with the lights down low, a spa­cious bar con­ve­nient­ly sit­u­at­ed just by the door and an enthu­si­as­tic crowd, ahab man­age to whip up a good atmos­phere. The audi­ence are a mix of stu­dents with a fair few old­er people.

For their encore, the boys jump off the stage and get down with the audi­ence. “We used to busk, so this is what we go back to for our encore,” they tell us. I imag­ine them, a few years hence, try­ing this at Wem­b­ley Stadium.

The venue: King’s Place, 90 York Way. Ahab tick­ets: £12. King’s Cross tube. Come out of the sta­tion, and walk up York Way for about ten min­utes. Just as the road starts to look fair­ly desert­ed, the venue is on the right hand side.

Food etc: King’s Place is part of the whole King’s Cross regen­er­a­tion, with the revamped sta­tion and Eurostar base at its heart. King’s Place is the home of The Guardian and is set­ting its mark as a new arts cen­tre. Walk in the door and you’ll find your­self in a vast atri­um with the Green & For­tune cafe and at the back, the Rotun­da bar (to be reviewed). We ate at the Green & For­tune cafe, where we had the spe­cial for £7.95: a main course with sal­ad and glass of wine. I chose lasagne, which was very tasty and the por­tion was nice­ly huge, but it was a tad cold – I’m sure if I had been less rav­en­ous they would have warmed it up. My com­pan­ion had the fish pie with flaky pas­try top­ping, which he said was ‘mmmm.’ Dis­ap­point­ing­ly, the wine was those aero­plane-style lit­tle bot­tles. There’s plen­ty of seat­ing: sofas with tables, where peo­ple are eat­ing, drink­ing, or just tak­ing refuge from the snow, and of course there are lots of copies of The Guardian around to read. There’s also a huge long din­ner table, which looked very cozy and socia­ble. Make time to take in the two floors of gallery space, which are cur­rent­ly show­ing por­traits by Adam Birtwistle. His work is amus­ing, not always flat­ter­ing but entertaining.

* * Check out The Lex­ing­ton on Pen­tonville Road for music, I espe­cial­ly love their Psy­che­del­ic Sun­day line­ups. Last year I saw the bril­liant sitar dri­ven Ele­phant Stone. They do an espe­cial­ly hearty Sun­day lunch too.

2 thoughts on “King’s Place for food, drinks, art and alt-country band, ahab

  1. nice review but one error, there were two songs not their own, as well as Wag­on Wheel, they did not write Sol­dier of the Lord (the first song they sang), which is (pos­si­bly sur­pris­ing for some) writ­ten by Big Coun­try (if you don’t know the Big Coun­try con­nec­tion then google it!). Great review, I was there great night.

    1. Thanks for your com­ment, much appre­ci­at­ed. Yes I did won­der about that first num­ber and then it slipped my mind! Now I’m think­ing it’s time to revis­it Big Country.

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