Kris Barras Band with special guests These Wicked Rivers and Florence Black performing their Death Valley Paradise Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Saturday 12th March 2022.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Kris Barras and his well drilled band finally got to play Rock City on Saturday night and these heavy duty rock and rollers showed that they were well worth waiting for.

But first up to entertain were These Wicked Rivers, a quartet hailing from Derby. Managing to fuse together rock riffs with modern music much to the appreciation of a growing crowd, they opened their short set with the guitar heavy Shine On which saw lead guitarist Arran Day delighting with a guitar solo that was short, sharp and straight to the point. Force Of Nature was followed by Evergreen with its great tempo and a riff that was really catchy. And when bassist Sam Williams, drummer Dan Southall and front man John Hartwell announced that the jaw dropping Don’t Pray For Me was their last song, there was an air of disappointment amongst the crowd.

Next up were Florence Black, who ended 2021 on a real high when the trio made the UK Rock Album charts with their debut album, Weight Of The World. With raw rasping vocals from vocalist and guitarist Tristan Thomas, Jordan Evans making the bass talk and Perry Davis being excellent on drums, the three childhood friends powered through a strong set.

With their big and powerful sound they delivered a set list of no-nonsense, rough edged hard rock. Raucous opener Zulu had some enormous riffs and swaggering gravel guzzling vocals. They followed up with The Deep End which had the crowd bouncing along to this monster of a song. Bird On A Chain, Pierrepoint and So Far Away were all loud, heavy and catchy. Fans favourite, a cover of Budgie’s Bread Fan went down a storm and as they breezed through their set at lightning speed they finished with new song Sun And Moon. Florence Black had brought a lot of energy and passion to their set and are undoubtedly making new fans every time they play.

With the release of Kris Barras Band’s fourth studio album, Death Valley Paradise, earlier this month there were bound to be several new songs given an airing and the band did not disappoint. Opening with the foot stomping oldie Hail Mary they followed up with their stiff modern rocker Dead Horses with its big riff and amazing drumming by Billy Hammett, some ripping rhythm guitar work by Josiah J Manning, Kelpie McKenzie on bass accompanied by Kris Barras’ sterling guitar playing and his strong and metallic sounding vocals.

There was the bluesy sounding Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Through My Veins and new song These Voices with its contagious hook was well received. Other new songs included Wake Me When It’s Over, Hostage and Devil You Know, a cathartic driving song but it was Ignite (Light It Up) that had the crowd raucously singing the chorus.

Hammett and Kelpie left the stage as the mood took a slower direction leaving Manning and Barras to strip everything back for a brace of acoustic tracks. Propane set the tone before the duo took Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man to another level, with Barras delivering a performance full of angst and emotion.

Back on stage for the rest of their electric set, Who Needs Enemies with its machine gun delivery and the emotively charged blues of Watching Over Me which was dedicated to the memory of all of those lost during the pandemic, before the main set was closed with a protest anthem, My Parade.

Encoring with 2018’s single, Lovers Or Losers Barras had shown this appreciative crowd that his cage fighting career is thankfully a thing of the past.