It’s fair to say that things just keep getting bigger and better for British blues guitarist Kris Barras.
A very successful 2018 saw the former MMA fighter make gains with his solo band as well as picking up the reigns as the frontman of the Supersonic Blues Machine. As a result, Barras spent part of last year out in Hollywood rubbing shoulders with the likes of ZZ Top legend Billy F Gibbons, in-demand drummer Kenny Aronoff and producer extraordinaire Fabrizio Grossi.
It goes without saying that Kris Barras is one of the hardest working artists on the blues-rock circuit right now. Tonight marks Kris Barras second show in the North East of England in just over 6 months. Due to unprecedented demand, the venue had to be upgraded to the main room at The Cluny in Newcastle. Even with the additional capacity, tonight’s show is a complete sell-out, which is undoubtedly a sign of things to come.
As Barras hits the stage he kicks off the proceedings with a high octane trio of blues-rock favourites in the shape of “Rock N Roll Runnin’ Thru My Veins”, “Kick Me Down” and “Stitch Me Up”, which in turn has the crowd captivated from the off.
At the turn of last year, Barras unveiled his take on Led Zeppelin’s timeless classic “Rock And Roll”. Subsequently, a crowd-pleasing performance of the cover features mid-set, during which the band most certainly do the song justice.
Kris mixes things up a bit during a foot stomping airing of “Heart On Your Sleeve” by interjecting a few bars of the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme to great effect. A soulful rendition of fan favourite “Propane” follows before drummer Will Beavis takes his moment in the spotlight during a hard hitting solo.
Despite the success of sophomore album The Divine and Dirty, Barras has already got his sights firmly set on the next chapter. Far from resting on his laurels Kris and the band went into the studio over Christmas to lay down the foundations of his third album. Although details of the eagerly anticipated release are yet to be finalised we are led to believe the new long player will see the light of day later this year. But for those who can’t wait that long Kris takes the opportunity to preview a few of his freshest cuts this evening including the likes of “Light It Up” and “Vegas Son”. On the strength of these songs along, this album is set to be one to watch out for later in the year.
The beautiful and heartfelt “Watching Over Me”, is full of emotive playing from Barras and is one of the centrepieces of an incredible set.
The Divine and Dirty received widespread critical acclaim that has resulted in a string of radio play listed singles and an army of new followers. During the closing stages of the set the unmistakable Planet Rock anthem “Hail Mary” has the crowd hanging on every word. Likewise, an impressive airing of “Lovers or Losers”, which comes complete with some Hendrix-esque showmanship from Kris brings the night to its explosive conclusion.
To coin a phrase from the Devonshire based blues man’s former profession tonight’s show is a total knock out. Kris Barras continues to go from strength to strength, there really is no stopping him.
Opening the show this evening was the Jack Hutchinson Band who took the Geordie faithful through a thoroughly enjoyable set. Joined by his formidable power trio, Jack took the crowd through the likes of the groove heavy “Rattlesnake Woman”, Classic Rock magazine favourite “Deal With The Devil” as well as his incredible take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well”. Hutchinson also took the opportunity to preview a couple of new tracks in the shape of “Peace of Mind” and “Lucky Man”, which both certainly hit the spot. Hutchinson is certainly one of the rising stars of the British blues scene, and judging by the response received this evening The Cluny crowd would wholeheartedly agree.
Event Date: 08-Feb-2019