Vino Ristorante, on Unley Road, is the epitome of what an excellent Italian Restaurant should be – it has great food, good wine, a welcoming open fire, and a terrific ambience – happy and noisy, filled with the sound of people having a good time.

Unfortunately, Tim Nicholson and Wade Schirmer’s band, Road Kings, were not a good fit for this venue with their flat, mono-paced ‘blues’ dirges acting as a complete mood killer on the night.

Luckily for Nicholson, the audience, made up mostly of his family and friends, and high end real estate agent sponsors, stayed loyally supportive. Those not related to him were polite, and stoically hung in there during the band’s uninspiring set.

Nicholson doesn’t inhabit any of his songs. His voice comes from his throat not his diaphragm, and its lack of power makes his delivery unconvincing, and the lyrics hard to decipher – more Muddy Vocals then than Muddy Waters.

He also plays, what can only be described as, ‘subliminal’ guitar, a playing style that relies on an almost inaudible strumming of the strings whilst playing the same chords on the same two frets of his instrument in almost every song.

When you ¬†are singing songs with uninspiring titles like Another Day, Easy Way Out, Stand Alone, Sunrise and Waiting For A Train, it is hard to keep your audience interested unless you deliver them up with some vim and energy and a half decent tune now and then. Nicholson’s performance on Friday, however, bordered on soporific and atonal.

Wade Schirmer’s supporting blues harp ended up having to provide the main aural focus during the fifty minute set, but whilst he laboured manfully to give the show some impetus, he repeatedly drowned out his frontman, and lost his way on more than a few of his solos.

This show was billed as containing ‘Blues, Country and Rock influences’ that were going to ‘blur the edges of sharp, incisive commentary on life in the third millennium.’

Sadly, the only thing the Road Kings managed to blur on Friday night was their own credibility.

Still, the pizza was tasty, the table service was good, and we got a table right in front of the fire, so not a complete waste of time at all.


Road Kings Blues, was performed at Vino Ristorante, 46 Unley Road, Unley from 15 – 17 June.