Jared James Nichols / KK’s Steel Mill Shows Much Love

Friday Fretworks night at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton saw Mr. Big on their Big Finish Tour, joined by the ever-impressive blues power man from East Troy, Wisconsin, Jared James Nichols.

Jared James Nichols

KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024

Words And Photography: John Inglis

Standing at 6’5″, Jared James Nichols cuts an imposing figure but is one of the nicest people you will meet in rock today. Having graced the Midlands a few times now, Jared is much loved in this part of town.

The lights dim, and the crowd wakes with a massive roar as he and his fellow musicians take to the stage. The backdrop features a block of Blackstar Amps, hinting at the powerful and raw energy that was about to be unleashed.

Jared James Nichols - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 22 March 2024
Jared James Nichols – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

First thing we notice is Jared’s had a radical haircut. “I hear he chopped it off himself,” was overheard. Then, we see a new old love, an early “refurbed” black-over-gold finish 1957 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

“Are you guys ready to rock?” was accompanied by a huge smile. From the moment Nichols smashed out the first chord on his Gibson, it was clear that this was going to be a night of sheer blues rock power.

The band cracks into Easy Come, Easy Go, which sets the crowd rockin’. Straight off the bat, Jared along with drummer Ryan Rice and Brian Weaver on bass duties, have got the crowd going.

Jared James Nichols - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 22 March 2024
Jared James Nichols – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Cooling down a touch, Down The Drain softly makes its way out of the PA system, but then the Iommi chords rip into your face, with Weaver providing the huge low-end thump.

Hard Wired’s sonic wah cuts through your ears, with a gritty, husky vocal to match.

Threw Me To The Wolves was originally released in March 2020, just as the pandemic lockdown began, and has since become a fan favourite. Taking centre stage, Jared James Nichols raised his Gibson to show the crowd his dexterous fretboard skills and was cheered affectionately.

Jared James Nichols - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 22 March 2024
Jared James Nichols – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Jared then took a moment to introduce his band, with the duo each popping off a snip of their artistry to huge cheers.

On Skin ‘n Bone, the whiff of Jimi Hendrix enters the capacity venue, and the sounds emanating from the trio take us right back to the ’70s.

The heavier riffing on Bad Roots then rolls in with the crowd spiced up once again for this growler. Following the drum intro from Ryan, Good Time Girl brings Jared James Nichols in again on the wah, with Brian’s driving bass in perfect synchronicity.

As they move through this air punching crowd pleaser, Jared steps as close to the crowd as he can without falling into the photo pit in order to deliver a bubbling solo.

Jared James Nichols - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 22 March 2024
Jared James Nichols – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Now it seems a given in this part of the West Midlands that he churns out War Pigs and by God I was right. A little itchy intro, squeaks and dark note bending and then BOOM!

The first chord strikes like a bomb, everyone is loving how he puts his stamp on it, the blues power way, and KK’s Steel Mill erupts. This is by no means an easy song to get right in the Sabbath vein, let alone put your own mark on it.

Jared James Nichols - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 22 March 2024
Jared James Nichols – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

The drumming from Rice is just superb as he plays Bill Ward’s parts with the power it deserves. Weaver and Rice are on top form, delivering it with some ease, or so it seemed. The chants from the crowd ensured that they were all in sync with the entire band. This is so great to see and hear.

Jared James Nichols poured his heart and soul into his music, delivering a performance that was both technically impressive and emotionally stirring, proving once again why he is one of the most exciting musicians in the industry today.

If you ever have the chance to see him live in concert, do not hesitate.

It’s an experience you will not forget. KK’s Steel Mill will always welcome Jared James Nichols back with open arms.

Jared James Nichols - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 22 March 2024
Jared James Nichols – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 22 March 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

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