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.