Words: Karen Hetherington \ Pictures (C) Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media
Featuring a trio of top notch acts – Saturday saw The Garage, Islington play host to Kris Barras Band for their London pitstop on the current European tour.
Jack J Hutchinson
London based blues guitarist Jack J Hutchinson was first up and while fans of the genre may have been previously familiar with Hutchinson, I think it fair to say that he has earned himself a few new followers – myself included. Kicking off an all too brief set with Hip Slickin’ from his album Paint no Fiction he demanded audience attention and held them captivated with his smoking hot brand of blues/southern rock. Not only is Hutchinson’s original material instantly infectious but his cover of Fleetwood Macs’ ‘Oh Well’ was pulled off to perfection with spectacular impact on the crowd – mighty impressive considering Peter Green is a tough act to follow… Bringing his set to an all too premature conclusion with Rattlesnake Woman, it seemed clear that Jack was keen to showcase his latest material and that the assemblage were keen to hear it.
Next up and a welcome addition to the line up were Welsh rockers Buffalo Summer. I last caught this fantastic four piece back in 2016 on the cusp of the release of their second album Second Sun – one of my firm favourites of the year. Appearing as special guests with Kris Barras I was eager to see them again and they did not disappoint. Their high powered, fast paced set consisted of Truth from Fable and Down to the River from their self titled debut and Little Charles and Priscilla from Second Sun as well as new tracks Walls and Make you Mine. The band pulled off a fantastic show featuring an outstanding vocal performance on concluding track Money which was massively well received by the ever burgeoning audience.
Kris Barras Band
After a speedy turnaround Kris Barras Band took to the stage amongst rapturous applause. My first live experience of the band was at last years Ramblin’ Man Fair where Kris impressed upon both a loyal fan base and passing festival goers his exceptional talent. Several months later and Kris’ reputation is growing at an alarming rate, his popularity evidenced by a packed out venue, on what appears to be a packed out tour.
Opening track Rock ‘N’ Roll Running Through My Veins demonstrated that the band had the audience enraptured. Not easily definable by genre Kris delivers a heady mix of classic rock, southern rock and blues with so much passion, energy and talent that you couldn’t fail to be wowed by him. They proceeded to pack in an impressive 16 tracks in all including a cover of Led Zeppelin classic Rock ‘N’ Roll which was released as a live recording in early January. Playing a relatively lengthy set, the band, also featuring: Josiah J manning on keyboards, Elliott Blacker on bass and Will Beavis on drums showed an imposing degree of musical accomplishment. Concluding the set with Hail Mary they re-emerged on stage only once to delight the audience with encore Lovers or Losers as the venue curfew meant an early finish to the night.
Overall, The Garage is an impressive venue, the sound was fantastic, the crowd was buzzing and the three bands musically complimented each other to perfection, it doesn’t really get much better…