Live Review: Kris Barras Band / Florence Black / Marisa And The Moths at Electric Ballroom, Camden on 26-03-22

Live Review: Kris Barras Band / Florence Black / Marisa And The Moths at Electric Ballroom, Camden on 26-03-22


Photos by: JON THEOBALD (131 IMAGES)

After a beautiful spring Saturday afternoon in the sunshine, there could be no better way to spend the evening than with friends and live music.

Thankfully we were aware that the doors time on the tickets was not correct or else we would have missed the excellent openers Marisa And The Moths. This may have resulted in a smaller number gathered before them, but those of us in the know were rewarded with a cracking set, mainly taken from their 2019 self-titled album.

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Opening with the sultry and breathless 69, the song is driven along by twin guitars and a big chunky riff. Marisa’s voice was in fine form as she cut into Skin in the manner of Hazel O’Connor at her punk priestess best. Things eased back briefly as Alez picked out the hauntingly beautiful intro to Choke with an effortlessly cool air,  in contrast to the impassioned Marisa. It was at this point that a number of people started to nod their heads in that ‘I’m really getting this now’ kinda way and were really responding to the relaxed and engaging patter of Marisa and Liam.

Get it Off My Chest kicked in on Alez’s feedback, before moving into something altogether Myles Kennedy-esque with a big hooky chorus. If this is a signpost to the next album then it will be worth following.

Human followed, before my personal favourite Needy, the song slowly ramped up through its many layers and grunge / emo tones, becoming something else live.

The band closed out with another newer song in Wither Away which left the now larger crowd showing their appreciation loudly. I know tonight Marisa And The Moths won over people who had previously been doubters. I think they will win over many more people too.

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This was the third time in as many weeks that I had seen Florence Black and each time Tristan, Jordan and Perry have delivered a blistering performance that has upped the level a fraction.

The crowd had expanded by this time and were well up for this set. As ever we were pummelled with the opening salvo of Zulu with its juggernaut drum intro and riff. Jordan was careering around the stage, making sure the crowd had fists in the air and voices raised. I doubt there are many better set openers at the moment.

There was absolutely no let up as the band accelerated hard through Bird On A Chain and The Ride with Tristan pouring out some of thickest riffs of recent years, whilst also showing incredible finesse as the moments called for it.

Pierrepoint eased things back fractionally as its solid groove had bodies moving. I found myself wondering if the crowd, as they sang along, knew the song was about the last official hangman in Britain.

So Far Away is probably my favourite track on Weight Of The World. It really puts me in mind of a band like Theory and was the perfect lead into the last lap of the set.

Some bands can sometimes come to own the covers that they play, and Florence Black are heading to that point with Breadfan. It is a great classic songs from one of the great classic three piece bands and Florence Black stake their claim on their journey to such accolades. This song has everything for Tristan to show just why he is becoming considered as such a high quality guitarist, and Jordan and Perry matched him note for note.

As Tristan put aside the Les Paul, the crowd recognised the signal and soaked in the beautiful intro to the sublime Sun & Moon. Our anticipation grew along with the song to its monster of a chorus, which will be leaving audiences hoarse for years to come. The light and shade of this song comes into starker contrast live and it will surely be a song that itself will become a classic to cover in the future.

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Just as Kris Barras’ songwriting has expanded and grown with each album, so have audiences, culminating in the superb recent release Death Valley Paradise and this last night of the tour at the Electric Ballroom. But it was back to 2018 as the crowd were immediately hooked and reeled in with Hail Mary and it’s perfect sing-a-long chorus.

With such a fantastic new album to showcase, the gems Dead Horses and These Voices highlighted how the addition of Josiah on guitars and Kelpie on bass has elevated these brilliant songs even higher.

(Ignite) Light It Up and Devil You Know maintained the intensity, with fantastic grooves and choruses that we were still singing on our way home. Kris and his band are now more than a ‘blues’ band; the music is still rooted there but they now cross so many more musical boundaries. This was perfectly illustrated on Hostage with it’s almost R&B vibe.

The stools and acoustic guitars were pulled out for an interlude, where Kris showed his self-deprecating humour, describing his debut album in very unflattering terms, but Heart On Your Sleeve will always be a favourite. During the day we had all learned of the passing of Taylor Hawkins and there was a collective outpouring of emotion as we all sang along to These Days. As well as accompanying Kris on guitar, Josiah showed his amazing skills by playing bass guitar and kick drum with his foot pedals. Apparently when Kris has the kick drum pedal, songs are played at a more thrash metal pace!

Either side of the acoustic interlude were a coupling of songs where Kris drew out every ounce of emotion from his guitar and the crowd. From the new album, Wake Me When It’s Over was a powerhouse of a ballad. The hugely emotive and relatable story that leads into Watching Over Me, combined with Kris’ moving playing confirmed just why this guy is so good. My partner was reaching for the Kleenex by the end.

After this it was time to hurtle towards the end with a wonderfully energetic Not Fading with Kelpie duelling with Josiah in a blur of fingers and notes.

My Parade is a song that is a rallying call, and the chorus was belted out with real passion by all those there, and it acted as the perfect way to close out the show on an absolute high.

Kris and the band reappeared and provided one last course of brilliance with Lover & Losers which had people walking out and into the pubs of Camden with huge smiles.

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