Kris Barras Band Make Arena Rock Statement In Wolverhampton

Now, I’ve got to be truthful here. When I first saw Kris Barras way back when he played just after the pandemic, I thought, yeah, a decent performer with some guitar skills but mainly blues style. But nothing really stuck out for me to say, wow, that was damn good. So, I wasn’t really over the moon about going to photograph and review the show at KK’s Steel Mill. But, and it’s a big spoiler, I’m so glad I did.

Kris Barras Band

KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024

Words And Photography: John Inglis

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

A massive career change from Pro MMA fighter to one of the best singer-songwriter/guitarists on the circuit today, Kris has carved a nice little niche with some memorable hard-hitting songs, especially with the release of the new album Halo Effect.

Because it gives more scope to listeners, so I’m glad he’s got on the heavy train.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

With the crowd pushed to the barrier and filtered right to the back of the Steel Mill, there wasn’t much room to move about, and I was very surprised.

Lights dim, and the crowd lifts their hands to welcome Kris and the guys to the stage. Kris takes a little nod to one and all, and we’re into Who Needs Enemies from the 2022 album Death Valley Paradise. This was a very high-energy song to get the fans jumping and all sweaty.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Unbreakable from the new album Halo Effect hits you in the face like a spiked hammer, fabulous chorus line with Shinedown overtones, just what we love.

Back to Death Valley, we travel for Dead Horses”. Again, a great chorus line pulls you in hard. You can tell he’s taken all the heavier-sided songs to town on this tour.

Savages from the new album is a lot like the band Saliva. Soft intro, heavy guitars, great hook, and Kris gets the crowd singing along to this damn loud. This song shows his guitar skills greatly. I think he’s been practising a lot, and it shows.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Kris takes a minute to thank everyone for coming and holds his arms out as if to give a virtual hug to one and all.

Another heavier track is These Voices, again from the Death Valley album. A beautiful heavy bassline from Frazer Kerslake keeps the time for the band to adhere to.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

On to my favourite track from the Halo Effect is the opener Hourglass. With some deep grooving drums and bass, this fused with a terrific chorus line is just to die for. I actually felt the hairs on my neck stand up, with fans singing every word even though the album has only been out a day. Incredible.

You’d be forgiven if you heard a Ghost-like intro with Secrets. But oddly, this was the first track they wrote for the new album. They shot the video in a church in Essex with Shaun from Loki Films. This song gives Kris a little rest as it slows up in parts but again builds up, cracking open the guitar vault skills.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Devil You Know demands the crowd to clap above their heads, with the driving bass drum accenting the clapping. A true groover.

Everything cools down while Kris takes a well-earned sip of water, and the anthemic Wake Me When It’s Over rears its head.

Watching Over Me is a song that is very close to Kris’ heart, as he wrote this after the passing of his father. He talks a little about the experience, which you can tell still burns hard into his soul. You can hear it in his voice as he speaks of it to rapturous applause from everyone in the venue.

Kris Barras then gets everyone in the place to get the dreaded phones out and turn on the torches, holding them high as he breaks into the very moving song. Ending with a massive solo, this was a great sight to witness.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

The album is co-produced with his long-time friend and fellow musician Josiah J. Manning. He’s a bit like Andy Sneep, basically brilliant at whatever he sets his mind to. This album is dark and a lot heavier than the norm we hear from Kris, and that in my opinion is for the best.

Fall To Fly and Light It Up are both hard-hitting tracks that bring the crowd to life again, jumping like they’re on pogo sticks. My Parade has the crowd singing along with the profanities, and of course, they love it.

It’s great to see some little kids in there, too, held up by their dads, with Kris acknowledging them to huge smiles. The band take a breath sidestage for 30 seconds and comes back to screams, shouts, and roars.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

“We’ll do one more song,” Kris shouts. The last track is Hail Mary, a nice bluesy rock track that gets you in a happy place before you leave.

In summary, it is safe to say this gig changed my whole perception of Kris and his band of merry men. The release of Halo Effect shows that Kris Barras is more than just another singer/guitarist in a band.

Kris Barras Band has become an arena rock band, even if Barras does not know it yet.

Kris Barras Band - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton - 13 April 2024
Kris Barras Band – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 13 April 2024. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

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