Live Review: Jack J Hutchinson Album Launch Show, O2 Islington on 08/02/24

Written by: Bea Burridge

Photos by: Bea Burridge

Jack J Hutchinson heads in to Battle!

On a very wet and dreary London evening, Jack J Hutchinson played the 02 Academy in Islington to celebrate the launch of his latest album Battles. Despite the album coming out that day, many tracks had already received critical acclaim from the likes of Radio 2 and Planet Rock with countless airplay.

To start the show were Bournemouth based support Skinny Knowledge, a four piece alt- rock band who burst onto the stage with their track I Wanna (Rock n Roll) which to me was a perfect opening. It started with nothing but a drum beat and a teasing guitar riff before erupting into the track ensuring we all know this band are one to watch.

Their set encapsulated a vast array of musical genres with some songs that were very easy listening with riffs and melodies reminiscent of Sum 41 but equally others have Queens Of The Stone Age style break out solos and Dinosaur Pile Up heaving hitting sounds. The stand out track for me was Strike Out which was played mid was through the set and captures that classic foo fighters guitar sound with a chorus you cant help but sing a long too.

The vocals throughout the set were keeping you on your toes with a sound that one minute was Billie-Joe melodic pop punk and then out of no where would hit you with a Naked Gypsy Kings powerful scream. Skinny Knowledge are definitely a band to get added to your playlist.

When Jack J Hutchinson took the stage, there is no denying he embodied cool. With his Vera Black hat, black blazer and jeans and pointy boots, he is everything you would expect a rock ‘n’ roll blues artist to be and he did not disappoint. If I could describe the show in one word I would say smooth. From Jack’s vocals to his guitar riffs, everything was effortless, natural and despite the intricacy of his playing, in the crowd, you felt at ease to just enjoy the talent in front of you. I would describe Jack’s stage presence as charming. The room was packed out but it felt like a very personal and intimate show.

The show was to celebrate the release of the album Battles, released on the same day. It is a ten track album full of gritty blues rock from this guitarist and songwriter. Up until this point in his career Jack has shared stages with the likes of ZZ Top and Blackberry Smoke and it is not difficult to see why.

The set was opened by Jack J Hutchinson and his band with new track Constellations, which also opens the album. This sound is everything you would want from a classic ZZ Top track but with a heavier modern vibe. There are clear influences of Stevie Ray Vaughn within his guitar playing throughout the show, with other tracks such as Hip Slickin’ boasting bluesy rock riffs echoing the country band Pride And Glory.

Road To Hell came in the middle of the set, and it stood out to me. The whole crowd fixated on Jacks every words with this powerful song which would not have been out of place on a Pink Floyd album. Ending the set on The Hammer Falls, which would have been a perfect stand along ending, before coming back to do Rip It Up as an encore, there are moments of pure rock when you can see resemblances of Slash and Myles Kennedy. Both of these songs are big ’80s tracks that make you want to dance and I’m sure ensured that for many of the crowd, the night didn’t end when the gig did!

My personal favourite from the whole set was Don’t Let The Fucker’s Get You Down because listening to it, I felt empowered and like I could take on the world with nothing but a power pose, which is the whole point of the song!

Every track Jack played had a sound which was so distinctive to him whilst also reminding me of so many musical heroes that is actually becomes difficult to compare him to anyone. One thing is for sure, I will be getting my hands on a copy of the vinyl of the new album Battles by Jack J Hutchinson pronto!

If the music industry is a battle, it is one Jack is going to win!

Skinny Knowledge

Jack J Hutchinson
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