The Kris Barras Band take a 10-hour journey up north to make their Newcastle debut at Trillians Rock Bar.
It’s fair to say that 2018 has been a great year for Kris Barras. His sophomore album The Divine and Dirty has been receiving widespread critical acclaim that has resulted in a string of radio playlisted singles and an army of new followers.
With a relentless touring schedule that has taken Barras throughout Europe, netted him a slew of high profile festival billings, alongside support tours with the likes of Beth Hart and Joanne Shaw Taylor, it just goes to show that hard work pays off.
Earlier this year, Kris Barras added a further string to his bow by picking up the reigns as the frontman of the Supersonic Blues Machine whilst teaming up with the likes of Billy F Gibbons, Kenny Aronoff, and Fabrizio Grossi.
With the buzz surrounding Kris Barras presently it’s no surprise that a packed out crowd awaits the former MMA fighter for this intimate show on Tyneside.
Barras opens the set with a foot stomping, slide fuelled rendition of “Heart On Your Sleeve”, which is followed in quick succession by a pair of tracks from his latest offering in the shape of “Kick Me Down” and the emphatic honky-tonk rock and roll number “Stitch Me Up”. Kris showcasing his blistering fretwork during the latter. The keyboard work of Josiah J Manning adds great texture to this number. Both Barras and Manning come together seamlessly throughout the course of the evening.
Even though The Divine and Dirty was only released earlier this year Kris Barras already has his sights firmly set on the next chapter. Tonight the audience is treated to a new track “What A Way To Go”. With its cowbell-infused tight rhythm and catchy groove, it certainly hits the spot.
The soulful tones of “Propane” and the unmistakable Planet Rock anthem “Hail Mary” has the crowd hanging on every word from the off. Barras switches things up with some exceptional fingerpicking during “Small Town Blues” before Will Beavis takes his moment in the spotlight with a ferocious drum solo.
Glancing around the room this evening, it’s apparent that the makeup of the audience is a good mix of blues purists and hard rock fans alike. Such is the draw of his genre-defying sound, Kris Barras can bring both groups together under one roof. Not wanting to put himself inside of any one box, in particular, Barras has his foot firmly in each camp. Subsequently, his performance this evening seems to play to each group of music lovers in equal measures.
To illustrate the breadth of his musical pallet, at one point in the evening Barras is leading the band through Gary Moore style licks during “I Don’t Want The Blues” the next moment he is injecting a few bars from AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” into “She’s More Than Enough” and rocking out with a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival’ classic “Fortunate Son”. The Kris Barras Band traverses the full spectrum of the blues-rock arena.
The show is brought to a close with a beautiful airing of “Watching Over Me”, which is full of emotive playing from Barras, and the hard rocking “Lovers and Lovers”. The aforementioned features crowd participation from the Geordie faithful and some Hendrix-esque showmanship from Kris who performs part of the track with his guitar behind his head and even plays the guitar strings with his teeth at one point. An encore airing of the groove-heavy, old favourite “Rock and Roll Running Through My Veins”, closes the night to great effect.
On the strength of tonight’s performance, it goes without saying that the Kris Barras Band won’t be playing venues of this size for much longer.