Kris Barras is one of the hottest blues rock guitarists on the live circuit at the moment. Gig Pigs have seen him perform several times, and each time he has pushed the bar higher. Starting his Spring tour in Cardiff on a cold, mid-week February night was a gamble, but the long line of people waiting to get intoThe Globe just before doors proved that it was a gamble that paid off.
With one of South Wales most popular bands, Buffalo Summer, supporting, it was set to be a great night of music. The small stage looked really cramped with two drum kits on it when we arrived, plus all the normal regalia and sadly, anyone sitting at one end of the gallery would not have seen much of Gareth - Buffalo Summer’s heavy hitting drummer.
The lads had about half an hour on stage, and sang some of our favourites, including ‘Down to the River’, which was their very first single. As Andrew’s velvety voice rang round the Globe, and Darren wowed us with his expressive bass moves, they will have gained a lot more fans. Jonny, as ever, entertaining us with his guitar moves and the occasional smile, was relaxed, as the quartet gave us their well rehearsed tracks. The Globe was full, and everyone enjoyed the support act.
After the usual stage change, Kris and his band appeared to a huge applause. this is what everyone had come to see. The band have been playing hard to audiences all over Europe, and his popularity was evident in the front row, where several people were advertising their origin by periodically waving their french flag.
Whilst Kris is gaining a reputation as an inspiring and talented guitarist his band are just as talented, and just as committed to their craft. In their 90 minute set, kris frequently defers to one or other of his band members, encouraging solos which delight the audience who clap and sing along. Kris, though, is the star of the show. His fingers work magic as they course their way across the strings, with riffs and hooks littering the songs he writes, and performs so brilliantly.
After a couple of songs, they give us an airing of a new song, ‘What You See is What You Get’ from a new album that will be out later this year. Its is amazing to be one of the first too hear new music and it goes down very well with the audience. From brand new music, we move onto really old blues rock as the band cover Led Zep’s ‘Rock and Roll’. We’ve seen them do this track before, and once again, we are blown away by the brilliance of it. It is a cover, not a copy, and they bring their own style and magic to the 48 year old song - making it new again.
The camaraderie in the band is evident, as Kris tell us that, despite trying to keep it quiet, he has found out that it is Elliot Blackler’s birthday the entire audience sing happy birthday to the talented bass player who seems bemused by the interlude.
Josiah J Manning gives us some great solos from both the Hammond organ, and the Korg keyboard complementing the intricate and sublime guitar work. frowned upon in some circles, we are also treated to a drum solo . Long enough to show off Will Beavis’s talents, but not so long that the audience loses focus. As the rest of the band return to the stage, the building shakes with the power of the kick drum.
Kris shares stories of the people and places that influence his music.None more so than his late father, who nurtured this talent and encouraged him from an early age to play. As we have seen before, he dedicates ‘Watching Over Me’ to his memory and sings with raw emotion.
All too soon, Kris is finishing the set with Hail Mary, and leaves the stage, thanking us all for coming out on a Wednesday evening. As the crowd yelled for more, he returns, and finishes off with another popular single - Lovers or Losers.
As the stage is being cleared, Kris comes out to chat to anyone who wants to chat. He signs CDs, Albums, has his photo taken with people who tell him how much they enjoyed the show. there is a buzz in the air as the Globe slowly empties. We’ll see him again in a few weeks, and it will be another great show.