Words and Pictures (C) Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
A welcome return to London for the UK’s answer to Zakk Wylde whose latest album presents a much darker and heavier side to his music. Having been predominantly a blues musician for the early part of his career, Jack Hutchinson has evolved his sound from rootsy bluesman (with a hint of Rod Stewart at times making an appearance) to a modern blend of Black Label Society mixed with smokey rock vocals that hint at Ozzy Osbourne but by comparison, Jack manages to always stay in tune when performing live.
Our review of latest album, The Hammer Falls can be found here:
With this being the first show of the tour in support of The Hammer Falls, expectations were high, people – still wary of covid restrictions only just lifting – made the trip to the capital and were welcomed with a brace of acts before the power trio of Jack J. Hutchinson, Lazarus Michaelides and Felipe Amorim hit the stage.
The Bad Day
With Ramblin’ Man Fair set to make a triumphant return to Mote Park in the summer of 2023, a shoe-in act would be openers, The Bad Day. Raised on a diet of Americana, blues and good old fashioned hard rock, the band look like they were born in the wild west and had to fight to survive in a time long gone. You could almost taste the dust and heat emanating from them on stage.
Lead vocalist Adam Rigg comes across like a stalking bounty hunter on stage with his coat and wide brimmed hat. His bass guitar looks like it’s been carved straight out of a tree trunk and his voice suited the sound and the vibe of the band perfectly. The four piece outfit are completed by guitarist Nick Peck, Sam Spranger on harmonica and Andrea Tremolada on drums. It has to be said the inclusion of Spranger in the band elevated the music that The Bad Day presented to another level. His playing is second to none and brings to mind memories of seeing acts like Aerosmith at their finest.
Don’t think that you’ll get an Aerosmith clone at The Bad Day shows though. Their music, whilst powerful and engaging, is a tad more serious than the outfit that gave us ‘Dude (Looks Like a Lady)’. The Bad Day manage to offer the perfect image to the music and judging by the reaction from the crowd, gained a fair few new fans, this reviewer included.
Daxx & Roxane
Playing their first gig of 2022, whoever thought to bring Daxx & Roxane onto the bill made the right call. The four piece have the songs, the stage presence and the flamboyance to be a shining light on the modern hard rock scene. They are clearly just missing the push from the right parties to nudge them onto the next rung of the ladder.
D&R’s music is full of fat riffs, soaring vocals, powerful rhythms and choruses that stay in the mind for days after hearing them. They’ve worked the stages across the whole of London and as the main support to Jack, it really showed. Fast Lane and Girl Next Door got the ball rolling to a rapturous reception from the crowd who clearly knew the material. It definitely lifted the band and pulled a performance from them par excellence.
In Cal Wymann D&R have a guitarist who simply owns the stage. As comfortable playing the most complicated of solos as he is flying around the stage and interacting with the crowd, his energy is infectious and pulls the band together by their bootstraps into one of the tightest outfits on the London scene. Rhythm guitarist Simon Golaz pulled a surprise out of the bag with the harmonica making a second appearance of the night and like The Bad Day, it was used to great effect to add greater depth to the band’s music.
Cedric Pfister on bass and vocals built the rhythm with his partner in crime Luca Senaldi on drums and helped the foursome deliver some serious noise for the 30 minutes they were on stage. They closed with Ticket To Rock, a firm favourite of mine and left us wanting more. Job done!
Jack J Hutchinson
If Bigfoot could play guitar, his idol would be Jack Hutchinson. The bowler-hatted musician sports more hair and beard than an 80 year old grandmother at a child’s birthday party and when combined with his electrifying guitar playing, presents the most imposing of rockers on stage. His influences may well be varied but listening to Jack play, I’d love to hear what he could do on a true heavy metal album with everything cranked up to 12 (11 is so last century don’t you know?).
If I look back at the shows I’ve seen Jack play over the years, there’s no doubting that his current band members, Lazarus and Filipe give him an edge and consistency that will hopefully see the trio performing together for years to come. There’s clearly a sense of camaraderie amongst the three of them with jabs and small in-jokes keeping the on stage delivery fun and good-natured. When they have to turn it on though, they do so with ease, the power and ‘oomph’ coming from the stage at the Academy feeling like a band with twice as many members were playing up there.
The newer material, from The Hammer Falls, definitely showcased the direction Jack is moving in and to these ears, it’s the right one. He genuinely feels like the UK’s version of Zakk Wylde and the music leans towards the sound that Black Label Society deliver as well. There were times, when listening to the new album that (as noted above) Ozzy Osbourne sprung to mind. For those of you that know the sound of Jack’s voice, you’ll say cobblers, rubbish, utter twaddle and so on. However I stand by it, and the fact that Black Sabbath’s War Pigs made it into the set and Jack delivered a note perfection rendition, suggests I have something in my assessment.
Jack’s trusty Flying V made multiple appearances with a Les Paul filling in the gaps as required. The acoustic even came out at one point to be used for a wonderful rendition of I Will Follow You, written in response to Jack’s father being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it’s fair to say the empathy and love emanating from the crowd was truly palpable.
As we all sniffed and pointed out that there was clearly some dust in the room, we finished the set with a set of in your face rockers including Rattlesnake Woman and Halo and towards the end, Jack and the band were joined on stage by guitarist Ani Savvides who’d been lingering in the wings waiting for his cue to come up on stage. Seeing the band perform with a dual guitar sound suggests many options for Jack in the future and once more, the different directions he can go with his material. It’s safe to say for now though, The Hammer Falls presents Jack J Hutchinson on peak form, it’s clearly worthy of the top score our reviewer Karen gave it and this live show was proof positive that the darker heavier sound and feel translates perfectly to the live arena.