Jack J Hutchinson Rocks Out Album Release Tour

Jack J Hutchinson, the blues maestro turned rock knuckle clamper, opened his album release tour at London’s O2 Academy 2, Islington. Battles is the latest record from the musician, which was dropped at midnight that evening. In true ode to his latest offerings title, Hutchinson strode out with a readiness in his eyes and a six-string axe by his side.

Jack J Hutchinson

O2 Academy 2 Islington, London – 8 February 2024

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Ryan Hildrew

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024.Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Before this tour, we spoke with Hutchinson about what was in store for the musician. Nothing short of a bustling 2024 is in the books. What makes Battles different is the newly formed writing collaboration with Josiah Manning (of Kris Barras Band). This new territory would be played out onstage for the first time. Facing all kinds of potential new opinions on this step-out, Hutchinson was about to take the bull by the horns and quash what small queries there might have been.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

The O2 Academy 2 Islington is a blissfully well-put-together venue with excellent sound residue and a one-way front-facing track to the stage. Having come from the mean blues streets of London Town, many a punter was already in deep conversation about Hutchinson’s humble beginnings. It seemed there was a natural mixture of fans, favourites, and loyal followers who had been there from the start.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Opening the gig like he does Battles, Hutchinson and his two-piece band (Phil Wilson on drums and Charlie Rachael Kay on bass) start with Constellations. With the new material swinging with a newly carved hard rock bat, the track is a no-holds-barred thriller. Into Days Are Gone and Hutchinson has already addressed the crowd with a resounding excitement for this tour and what it promotes.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Keeping with the times, the man of the hour and his band slice through the new album material. Days Are Gone, Running On Empty, not-so-cryptic number Don’t Let The F****** Get You Down, Love Is The Law and Road To Hell. While each song has its clear, toughened hard rock edge, in a beautifully accurate picking-laden solo, Hutchinson bursts out his best blues gurn with phenomenal guitar work.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Originally a guitarist by trade, he awes the audience. Stepping right to the edge of the stage, he swings his Les Paul high, letting each note scream fill the room into grateful ear-drum exhilaration. The band plays into his composition well, with Wilson keeping his groove tight-sticked and Kay throwing down technical baselines with incredible ease.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Hutchinson then dips us into the past with Hip Slickin’ and Written in Stone, taken from his 2017 Paint No Fiction album. The resounding cheer from the many merch-wearing audience members makes him smile as he starts to round up the night.

The final track of Battles, Stay With Me – stated as Josiah’s favourite on the album – is wonderfully set before the title track of his last album, 2020’s The Hammer Falls. The encore is Rip It Up, released just before Battles, along with a fiery music video.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

I couldn’t imagine a better way for Hutchinson to kickstart his UK tour. There is an evident, amiable warmth from his London fandom, who stick around to say hi to the musician as he steps out of the dressing room just moments after the gig ends.

Jack J Hutchinson - O2 Academy 2, London - 8 February 2024
Jack J Hutchinson – O2 Academy 2, London – 8 February 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

With a cracking new album out now and a heck of a load of dates left for the Battles tour – which leads up to the end of June – the time for Jack J Hutchinson is now. Cementing his tenure within the hard rock blues scene, Hutchinson’s 2024 could not look brighter.

For upcoming tour dates and ticket links click here.

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