Chris Barron and Lach: Hairy Dog – live review

Chris Barron by D FilisAn acoustic night with Chris Barron is not what you might first think. There’s no bright t-shirts, no floppy hats and no pop anthems. OK, the last statement was a bit of a lie, but the Spin Doctors are not the main focus. Instead, tonight is about an honest and talented songwriter crafting stories with nothing but an acoustic guitar and heartfelt lyricism.

Chris ignores the stage of the Hairy Dog and asks the crowd to gather around the sofa area, doing the entire show unplugged. It’s almost like watching your friend play in your front room or sat around a campfire. Infact, it’s very much like watching your friend play music, since Chris spends the majority of the evening talking, laughing and hanging out with his fans.

These fans include Derby’s very own Panama Scots, who open the show with catchy acoustic numbers such as Misspent Youth and I Wish I Could. Beautiful harmonies, combined with additive melodies, this is indiepop at its finest.

Antifolk founder and general misfit, Lach, follows. A storyteller with a unique point of view, Lach is the perfect artist to support Barron on this tour. The two complement each other well, they even heckle each other, which in my opinion, is even better. Lach performs some of his trademark songs such as Coffee Black and I Love America (But She Don’t Love Me) which is probably now more topical than it was when it came out in 2001. There’s a raw talent that both his and Chris Barron’s music which can’t be taught.

Lach by D FilisChris begins his set by playing tracks from his new album Angels and One Armed Jugglers. There’s certain grace and thoughtfulness to these songs that come from a real place, a place of sadness, but also love and thankful. The audience hang on his every word as he gently sings Still A Beautiful World which makes us realise how much we have to be thankful for and the simplistic, yet beautiful Till the Cows Come Home, which says all that a love song really needs to.

As the night comes to a close, Chris finishes with Spin Doctor hits, Two Princes,  Jimmy Olsen’s Blues and Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, which he explains the meaning behind and uses to discuss the good work going on with the #MeToo campaign. Want to know the meaning behind the song? Sorry, you’ll have to go to a show.

Overall, the night gave so much more than originally expected and as Chris walks to the bar to drink with fans, I’m left feeling humbled. As I walk out onto the streets of the Hairy Dog, the world outside seems somewhat brighter. Forget fancy stage set ups and expensive equipment. This is what rock and roll is really about.

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Images by D Filis. 

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