The Kris Barras Band and Jack J. Hutchinson at The Deaf Institute: Live Review
Words: Anne Estella | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Accompanying Kris Barras on the second night of his UK tour, hirsute British Blues Rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Jack J. Hutchinson took to the stage of Manchester’s much loved The Deaf Institute, wearing his signature shades and a hat with a feather in the side.
Kicking off with the hooky, riff-driven Hip Slickin’, the Jack J. Hutchinson band, which includes Lazarus Michaelides on bass and Felipe Amorim on drums, immersed themselves in a tight display of whiskey-soaked Southern Rock, overlooked by the glittery gaze of the venue’s giant mirror ball. The second song was the well-known groove-laden RHR (Redfern, Hutchinson & Ross) single Rapture, and it didn’t take long before the cold, wet night was a distant memory, as the steamy atmosphere rose to sauna-like proportions.
As Written In Stone, from Hutchinson’s solo album ‘Paint No Fiction’ began, his sunglasses came off and the room was drenched in dim red light, creating an ambiance heady with the Blues that was evaporating from the trio’s pores. A new song called Lucky Man got its first public airing, as did Peace Of Mind, lifted from a new album that’s scheduled for release this summer.
The interaction between Blues brothers Hutchinson and Michaelides was pure joy to watch and the performance was so mesmerizing that nobody dared turn their eyes away from the stage for a second. Deal With The Devil, which was named one of Classic Rock Magazine’s tracks of the week, followed, and the sweltering, rootsy set ended all too soon, with Oh Well.
Jack J. Hutchinson – Lead Vocals/Guitar
Lazarus Michaelides - Bass
Felipe Amorim - Drums
Written In Stone
Peace Of Mind
Deal With The Devil
45This is the second time Blues guitar virtuoso Kris Barras has played Manchester in recent months, and one woman in the audience must have known to expect a scorching performance, as she came well-prepared with a fan and was deftly wafting what little air there was, inside the comfortably full room. The newlywed may have swapped St. Lucia for a much less sunny climate, but he definitely brought the heat with him…
The set got off to a flying start with Rock n Roll Runnin’ Through My Veins, from the album ‘Lucky 13’, and was followed by Kick Me Down, from the band’s latest record, ‘The Divine And Dirty’. Barras treated us to his brand new song, What You Get, before covering Led Zeppelin’s pulse-raising Rock And Roll. There were several guitar changes throughout the show, including a dark teal-coloured axe that almost blended into Barras’ tattoo sleeves!
The band played a sensational set, in which every single member captivated the audience with their dexterous musicianship. Elliott Blacker gave a superb, lively performance on bass, whilst Will Beavis and Josiah Manning both indulged in dynamic, well executed solos on the drums and keyboards respectively.
The mood was toned down for an emotional song that Barras wrote about his late father – an accomplished musician who’d influenced him to pick up the guitar at the age of five - after he lost his battle with cancer a few years ago. The very relatable Watching Over Me, was sung with such eloquence and beauty, it was impossible not to be moved by it. But it wasn’t long before the tempo was taken up once again, with the swinging Wrong Place, Wrong Time, as Barras teasingly shouted, “Here’s a bit of Blues for ya!”
As the set neared its conclusion, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind as to what the last song would be… fans were already calling out, “Hail Mary”! And to say it was worth the wait would be a huge understatement! The floor was bouncing as Barras’ awesome vocals soared - his exquisite guitar playing exciting and enthralling the crowd as we were bathed in streams of bright white light that illuminated the entire room from the back of the stage.
The band returned for an encore, and as Hail Mary had gone down so well, Barras called “Shall we just do that one again?!” The unforgettable show closed, not with Hail Mary, but with the down ‘n’ dirty jaw-dropper, Lovers Or Losers. However, the following morning, I can guarantee that everyone at that show will have woken up with the same song ringing in their head… and I don’t need to tell you what that was.
Kris Barras – Lead Vocals/Guitar
Josiah J. Manning - Keys
Elliott Blacker - Bass
Will Beavis - Drums
Rock n Roll Runnin’ Through My Veins
Kick Me Down
Stitch Me Up
I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing
What You Get
Rock & Roll
Heart On Your Sleeve
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Light It Up
Watching Over Me
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Lovers Or Losers