Sunday with the threat of work looming tomorrow. The line of fans awaiting the doors to open would make sure that Bristol would be roaring with delight when Kris Barras and his band hit the stage. First up after everyone had time to catch up with friends was the Swansea based Mark Pontin Group.
With two albums under his belt and a third promised for 2019, Mark Pontin Group promised an opening set that would excite. For some reason, Mark on guitar and his rhythm section Callum Morgan Jones on Bass and drummer Dafydd Davies just did not hit the throttle of his potential when delivering his Blues Rock. The sound was loud and the vocals at times muffled losing the tone of his voice on Just One More Day and Chasing Blood and into the mix a Hendrix cover and the tunnels crowd was warming up for the main act. Would have loved to of heard some new tunes from MPG this set felt stale so come on Mark up your game and let’s hear that energy back and some new material.
Short break with anticipation growing as Kris and his band on their first visit to Bristol would be playing one of the most talked about albums on the Blues Rock circuit of 2018 The Divine and Dirty. The set list was styled to promote the album whilst digging deep into his past, including opening and closing with an encore from Lucky 13. Kris was playing with his Heart On Your Sleeve, with his growling guitar an Americana fueled number. The Hammond and keys from the skilful fingers of Josiah added a layer of drama across the set deepening the rock tones augmenting the array of guitar sounds Kris produces on his PRS, Bacchus Start and Telecaster. Kris changed his guitars, not to show off but to change the tonal range and his slide was divine. We heard his amazing rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son which was stunning.
The stand out feature was this is a guitarist that does not have to dominate every minute. The interplay between his musicians was amazing drums and keys, the complete rhythm section playing off each other and even a stylish drum solo. Playing the two singles from The Divine and Dirty back-to-back was inspired we had Propane-fueled Hail Mary. What a storming combination building and building the melodic sound waves loud and mean with the clarity of vocals. The audience joyfully on a Sunday night repeated their own Hail Marys.
Modern rock with tonal shaping as the instruments combined and set the foothills for Kris to climb to the summit of the rock-blues mountain with his stinging guitar and vocals. The Divine and the Dirty joined in perfect harmony and its music that is dammed hot!!!
Then with a switch of his style, he cooled the beat with high tempo blues, a number as fast as a train driven with perfect control as we walked into Small Town Blues with the band tonight.
Kris never had to ask twice for the audience to participate he got the mood heightened and the call and answer holler encased in rock to perfection by the time we participated in his final number Lovers or Losers. Tonight lovers of live music were definitely rewarded there were no losers tonight.
Now, I have a confession it was a Sunday Gig after all. I enjoyed his latest album, but I preferred his earlier album, Lucky 13. Tonight I have seen the light I am converted it was an amazing show of live music the tone and balance were perfect. I love it when you go to see live music slightly underwhelmed and you are proved wrong with the excitement of music that clicks in harmony with your personal radar. Kris Barras, you were Divine and Dirty tonight in Bristol. Like the rest of the packed venue, I left with a beam of pleasure from ear-to-ear as we left The Tunnels. When you come back and come back soon Kris Barras it will be a total sell-out.
Kris Barras Band Set List Sunday 17th September 2018
Heart On Your Sleeve
Kick Me Down
Stitch Me Up
Blood On Your Hands
What A Way To Go
Small Town Blues
Nothing To Hide
I Don’t Want The Blues Kris Barras album
She’s More Than Enough
Watching Over Me
Lovers Or Losers
Rock n’ Roll Runnin’ Thru My Veins
Kris Barass Vocals/Guitar
Josiah J Manning Keyboards
Elliott Blackler Bass
Will Beavis Drums