Kris Barras Band – The Crescent, York, 27/10/2019 1

Kris Barras Band – The Crescent, York, 27/10/2019

It scarcely seems believable that only 18 months ago the Kris Barras Band was regularly performing to no more than 75 people. Two excellent albums and countless live shows later and due in no little part to the considerable talent, energy, drive and determination of their eponymous band leader and charismatic frontman, they are now out on their biggest UK tour yet playing in 500 capacity venues, many of which have sold out weeks in advance.

And tonight’s date in York falls firmly into the ‘sold out’ category, all the tickets having long since been snapped up. Originally scheduled for Fibbers – another local live music venue, located a few hundred yards away from here – the gig was subsequently moved to The Crescent when Fibbers’ future was placed in considerable doubt after coming under threat by a proposed new development on its site.

News then broke last week that The Crescent was also at potential risk of future closure if plans to build apartments next door get the green light given that this could then lead to noise complaints coming from the residents living there. The closure of independent live entertainment venues is a national problem, but these two instances in York do highlight the haemorrhaging of cultural provision at grassroots level and the difficulties that this dearth can bring, something that tonight’s show serves to reinforce.


The Crescent is a hot, seething mass of kindred spirits who are out for the evening hellbent on having themselves a real good trouble-free time and through their collective efforts and some pretty spectacular music along the way the Kris Barras Band ensure that they all end up going home having achieved that objective. Not having the opportunity to enjoy nights like this would be such an immense loss. 

There is nothing overly complicated about the music of the Kris Barras Band and it is all the better for that. They take the staple ingredients of blues and rock and mix them together, with a couple of very notable exceptions, into a hot, sweaty, blood-and-thunder, foot-stomping cauldron of sound.

The relatively early appearance of ‘Rain’ in the set marks a more recent shift in the direction of Kris Barras’s songwriting. Taken from the band’s latest album, Light It Up – a title which also lends its name to the current tour – ‘Rain’ is a big-booming love ballad of which Guns N’ Roses in their prime would most surely have been proud. And ‘Watching Over Me’, a most poignant tribute to Kris Barras’s father, a man who was such a huge influence on his musical career and who died prematurely at the age of 54 from cancer, sees Barras move to the lip of the stage and peel off some truly blistering blues guitar solos in the very best Gary Moore tradition.

The band returns for a richly deserved encore of ‘Going Down’ during which the two backing singers Alex Hart and Phoebe Jane join Kris Barras at the front of the stage adding further impetus and dimension to Freddie King’s timeless blues standard. Long live the Kris Barras Band; long live The Crescent.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from this show are HERE

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