I only got to hear a couple of hours before tonight`s event that Manchester`s Gorilla Riot, of who`ve I’ve heard some great reports were supporting, for me a real bonus. This quintet consisting of Arjun Bhishma (lead vocals & guitars), Liam Henry (guitars & vocals), James Degnen (bass), Charly T. (guitars & vocals) and David Thomas (drums) play raucous blues-based rock, combining elements of grunge, stoner and country. The fellas have a self-titled album and two EP`s out with Six Shots Down and American Honey Volume 1 and they share a few tracks off each throughout this cracking forty-five-minute set. The highlights were `Judgement Day`, `Most Wanted` a superb bluesy Americana offering with its catchy lyric of “Never gonna take me”, `Bad Son`, `Last Hymn` and `Morning Sun` They throw in a cover of The Allman Brothers Band`s Midnight Rider and have the packed throng clapping along with their last song `Dirty` A superb set and a band that I’ll definitely be heading out to see again.

Have you ever had one of those infuriating friends that say “Hey, you gotta see this guy, he`s amazing” and no matter how hard you try, you just can`t seem to get to see them. Well this was how it was with Kris Barras and I’m happy to say yeah, I’ve now seen him and fair do`s he was awesome. Kris hits Birmingham, about a quarter of the way through The Divine And Dirtier Tour. promoting basically the album ‘The Divine and Dirty’ which was released in March this year. AC/DC`s Thunderstruck and the Good the Bad and The Ugly are piped through the house pa as Kris and his band take to the stage. `Heart On Your Sleeve` kicks us off which really suits Kris`s gravelly voice and we are at the second offering `Kick Me Down` and he has the audience singing along with the chorus of ` woah, woahs` I really loved the piano intro and snatches throughout `Stitch Me Up` and the thumping drum beat of `Blood On Your Hands` Kris has two albums out with `Lucky 13` and ‘The Divine and Dirty’ but he`s not the sort of guy to rest on his laurels and shares that he`ll be recording a new album around Christmas time and plays us a new track called `What A Way To Go` and it`s a cracker with a keyboard/organ riff that the late Jon Lord would have been proud to call his own. The guys cover Creedence Clearwater Revival`s `Fortunate Son` before it`s back to business with the fiery `Propane` My favourite track the tremendous `Hail Mary` with its gospel intro comes next before the guys play a couple of cuts from debut” Lucky 13” with `Small Town Blues` a real country jam and `Nothing To Hide` with its marvellous guitar shredding. The fast paced and straight up `I Don’t Want The Blues` and `She`s More Than Enough` which ends up blending into AC/DC`s `Whole Lotta Rosie` are spat out before the last two numbers close out the show. `Watching Over Me` is a deeply personal and moving tribute that Kris wrote for his late father. It`s a wonderful slow burner and I’m sure his dad would be very proud. The quite Bon Jovi tinged `Lovers Or Losers` completes this stunning performance. The band Elliott Blackler (bass), Will Beavis (drums), Josiah J Manning (Keys) and Kris have been told that there isn`t time for an encore after this ninety-minute set but this doesn`t stop them from ripping into the blistering `Rock `n` Roll Running Through My Veins`.

We are all left drained but happy, especially me as I’ve not got to see this blues troubadour and can understand why my friend kept on at me. Make time to see the Kris Barras band, I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.

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