Kiefer Sutherland – Live Review – Hull Asylum
By Victoria Holdsworth, October 2019
These types of gigs really should come with a health and safety warning! Tonight the crowd looks well over capacity for the venue, but I’m interested to see who is going to turn up to watch this brat pack hero bring his gritty Americana to the stage. Sadly, that is where the warning needs to come in. The crowd consists of mainly middle to older-aged women, who are prepared to push and shove, scratch, bite, climb, punch and kick their way to get within inches of Kiefer Sutherland.
It’s also clear that a large percentage of them are not interested in the music either, as they talk loudly over the sound system (believe me, they were loud). Others wander around with a beer or two in hand until they spot the tiniest sliver of a gap, before unleashing an attack to consume that space, by whatever means necessary.
There are countless Lost Boys t-shirts and cowboy hats from the male, Young Guns-loving congregation of the crowd, who hang back in the fringes nodding their heads for five minutes, then return to hug the bar.
As the band amble on to the stage, the crowd in the Asylum surge even harder, before Kiefer runs onto the stage to meet his crowd. He looks like a cross between a cowboy and Amelia Earhart in his ensemble, and the applause is immense.
From the striking of the first chord, you know what sort of an evening you are in for. ‘Rebel Wind’ and ‘Can’t Stay Away’ make for a raucous start, and the true music fans who are there appreciate the blues-drenched licks and honeyed, raw vocals.
The latter, appropriately enough a love song to the bar, is extremely catchy and an early standout. Sutherland really does appear to be every bit the natural performer, as ‘Something You Love’ shows his talent for lyric writing, and the compassion behind each word is remarkable.
“Wicked slide guitar”
Between songs, when you can hear him, Kiefer gives anecdotes about his life and times, which have been extremely varied from a young age, including training with dreams of being a rodeo star.
The title of his album, we are told, is named after his trusted horse, Reckless. “But…” he quips, “It may also be about me.” The eponymous track has some wicked slide guitar and a real authentic Americana sound to it, in addition to some rolling drums and a fat bass riff.
The lamenting ‘Shirley Jean’ pays homage to Johnny Cash, who Sutherland describes as an outlaw country musician. Kris Kristofferson – another Nashville reject – is another clear influence, both artists who went and did it their way anyhow.
Kiefer explains that he has never actually been to prison, but he has wound up in jail a fair few times, and then plugs straight into one of the best songs of the night, ‘Open Road’, which sees Sutherland twirling around the stage like a dust cloud.
Lyrics are intimate and personal, but his storytelling ability helps the songs shine. ‘This Is How It’s Done’ is reminiscent of heavier hitting Elvis Presley numbers, with some serious rhythms rocked, but it’s ‘Down In A Hole’ that really lights up the end of the set as it showcases Sutherland’s ultimate passion for what he is now doing with his life. Fair play to him, I say – he’s pretty good at this.
The encore consists of a duet with his support act, a country musician called Twinnie, who hails from York, for the acoustic ‘Calling Out Your Name’.
Ending the set with the boisterous ‘Agave’, borne from various tequila episodes, Sutherland may be a little rough around the edges, but his raw talent and on-stage presence is to be applauded.
He really shines on stage, even when some of his audience do not.
images: Beth Elliot