John Fairhurst


We have a double whammy of John Fairhurst tonight. First up is a stripped-down acoustic set, as he muses how it’s good to make some chilled acoustic after making such a heavy album. But chilled may not have been the best choice of word for it, excellent fingerpicking at the start of tracks such as ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Island’ give way to furious strumming by the end of each song. So much so that strings start to break as the first half of the night comes to a close. Time for John to take a quick break and breather before coming back to the stage for the rockier stuff he is more known for.

John is bringing back the classic heavy blues rock sound, a sound that has fallen out of the mainstream over the years, but is seeing a resurgence. Big bands like The Black Keys and Royal Blood come to mind when thinking of heavier styles that have recently reached popularity. But no other artist has really brought back those archetypal tones hitting audiences’ ears back in the 70’s more than John Fairhurst. Everything about the set is like an homage to classic rock, psychedelia and blues. The backdrop is a spiralling lava lamp projection. The band is loud and John is shirtless, playing Hendrix style solos behind his head atop the kickdrum. You don’t see this type of show very often anymore.

Huge songs like ‘No Shelter’ sound like Metallica on a 20 a day habit. His gravelly voice and powerful riffs hit you like the lion’s roar in King Fu Hustle. It truly does blow you away. But it’s not all power and amps up to 11. The almost line dance vibe of ‘Saltwater’ could fit in with the American Honey soundtrack, bringing those near the front to dance to country rhythms and bottleneck slides. I find myself more entranced by John’s fantastic guitar as the bottleneck sweeps up and down the fret board. Bandmate Max Gibson is not too shabby either as the pair share guitar solo duties, vibing off each other during an extended version of ‘The Divided Kingdom’, the title track of John’s latest release (and his first vinyl release!).

It’s an exciting set full of epic solos and fantastic riffs. It has been a step into the era of the classic rock guitar virtuosos, but the energy from the stage has made this musical genre feel as alive as ever.

John Fairhurst: Official | Facebook | Twitter