The Kris Barras Band
Wednesday 20th June
The Borderline, London
Tonight is a Wednesday in London Town, along with Monday and Tuesday it's classed as a school night which can be tough getting your average gig goer off their sofa! Not tonight though as I take the downward steps to the cellar venue of the 'Borderline' off Tottenham Court Road and find Friday night has arrived early. The Americians have a quote "Guys like riffs and Gals like relationships" - well in a normal Rock male dominated audience this is not applying tonight because we're looking at a 60-40 male to female ratio.
The attraction: The Kris Barras Band playing from their two albums 'Lucky 13' and their recent release 'The Devine and Dirty' from which the opener 'Wrong Place,Wrong Time' locks us in followed by 'Can't Help Me Now' from the previous album stepping up the gears to "Riff Heaven". A couple of cover versions are included in the set tonight, the first of which is the Gary Moore track 'Stormy Monday'. As Kris states, Gary was a big influence on himself and you can hear this especially in his own song 'Watching Over Me' dedicated to his father who he lost to cancer. His father also played bass in his band, and if he had dropped in tonight it sounded like Gary had dropped in also to add to the heartfelt solo that we all witnessed.
The band are a tight unit with the rhythm section of Will Beavis (thirteen years service) on drums and Elliott Blackler on bass. On keyboards we find Josiah J. Manning who brings the variety to the band among the guitar base of the band, but who is also the band's producer. Kris brings the gravel-style Bluesy Rock vocal along the lines of Sheffield's Joe Cocker and a mean dirty guitar played with precision. Back to the set, the train rolls on with two songs from the latest album 'Propane' and the catchy 'Hail Mary', the latter of which everyone joins in (if you're going to get your crowd to sing, make it an easy lyric). 'Heart On Your Sleeve' brings out some Country influences as they cross genres with the Blues and Southern Rock influences in their catalogue.
The following abbreviation: "NWOCRAB" (New Wave Of Classic Rock And Blues) has been touted about the scene for a while now, the pioneers being King King with the likes of Bad Touch and The Bad Flowers, to name but a few, along with The Kris Barras Band fighting the cause! The second cover is Bob Dylan's 'All Along the Watchtower' which ends the set with a good excuse to guitar solo the hell out of it and he did to our enjoyment. A couple of encore numbers 'Rock Running Through My Veins' and 'Further Up the Road' Rock and Roll us to the end, back up the stairs to find it's Wednesday again. We'll catch the band again at Ramblin' Man Fair in the Blues Tent on Sunday 1st July!