A Updated

The UK Rock Music scene is in a really healthy place right now, with so many fantastic bands out there vying for attention. The Kris Barras Band are one of those leading the way.


Manchester : Band On The Wall - 12th February 2023

It is less than twelve months since Kris Barras toured the UK. The show I caught in Liverpool, in March 2022, was so good that I had to check the band out again, despite having no new material to promote. Band On The Wall is another new venue to add to the list ,and despite the lack of photo pit and the show lighting being particularly poor, the sound was perfect throughout. With a bar to the rear of the long room and a small balcony area just above, the only other issue was two huge stone pillars in the middle. As these were probably there to hold up the ceiling I couldn’t really complain too much. Securing a spot next to the mixing desk (within easy reach of the bar) it was possible to see the stage, even though the four band members were shadows for the most part.

2022’s ‘Death Valley Paradise’ was certainly a step up in quality for the former MMA fighter. With a tougher sound and a set of songs with a strong commercial edge, it was a move away from the slightly more Blues infused ‘The Divine And The Dirty’ (2018) and ‘Light It Up’ (2019). Barras was obviously keen to promote this new sound, as the set featured eight of the eleven ‘Death Valley Paradise’ tracks. The anthemic ‘Hail Mary’ kicked things off in great style and was a clear statement of intent for the show to come. From the off, the near sold-out crowd was in great voice and having several hundred extra voices certainly added to the atmosphere. ‘Dead Horses’ typifies the new creative mantra and had even more clout in the live arena. What is apparent, having seen the band four times during the last five years or so, is that Kris is now so much more confident in his role as front-man. He seems relaxed between songs and engages well with the audience. As a vocalist, he also seems to have developed and his voice suits the new songs really well.

‘These Voices’ and ‘Hostage’ maintained the momentum, with the impassioned ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’ giving Kris the chance to display his unquestionable guitar skills. ‘Chaos’ and ‘Devil You Know’ hit harder than the studio versions and lead into the emotional ‘Watching Over Me’, which was introduced with a dedication to Kris’s father Paul. The extended guitar solo was mesmerizing and not just an ego exercise. Hairs on the back off the neck were all present and correct, and if the band ever release a live album then this will surely be a highlight. I generally can do without covers, but Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock And Roll’ segued nicely into a brief snippet from Kansas’s ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and was awarded a great reception from the crowd. It has to be said that this is not all about Barras. The four-piece band are now a tight well-oiled touring machine and gel brilliantly as one unit. ‘Who Needs Enemies’ and ‘My Parade’ raised the temperature levels even further, before ‘Ignite (Light It Up)’ brought things to a rousing climax.

I firmly believe that the next studio album will be a game-changer for The Kris Barras Band. Larger venues and bigger crowds are just round the corner. The UK Rock Music scene is in a really healthy place right now, with so many fantastic bands out there vying for attention. The Kris Barras Band are one of those leading the way.

Dave Bott

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