Jack J. Hutchinson / Ashen Reach –

The Local Authority, Sheffield, Friday 4th February, 2022

Well this will be the fist gig covered this year by Metalliville Zine so it was a pleasure to make the premier one in a fave place of mine that I have not been in for a good while – this one being the one above the Corp that's on the way down to it if that makes any sense...

Set list: Intro/Fighting For My Life/Epiphany/Heir To The Throne/Broken Column/Alive   Again/Homecoming.

It's a horrid cold, windy, rainy night as well to start the weekend on, a bit like last weekend – but it only mid feb so cannot expect shorts and t-shirt weather can we? Anyway, tonight it's two acts that are both gonna be playing a big festival or two later in the year – little wonder that many of the crew from one of them are here tonight right?

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First up on the stage are Merseyside's Ashen Reach who are a tight ass young made up of Jess Stanley (Drums) Paddy Cummins & Joe O’Sullivan (both on Guitar), Mike McCarroll (Bass) and Vocalist, Kyle Stanley.

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They tear it up with their heavy and melodic grooves that have that crunchy distortive sound to their guitar riffs with the first number in the set 'Fighting For My Life' reminding me of Helloween in the vocals and some musicality at times.

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Much of their set is rather abrasive and bawly but well-done and structured regardless – he has a strong set of vocal pipes on him too. We get a cut later about mental health called 'Alone Again' which for one reason or another is close to the band.

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Nice touch in having a female drummer as well which you don't get too much with a mainly male populated band. They close with a powerful almost anthemic song in 'Homecoming' that grabs you in the strong vocal arrangement.

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Their performance seems to be over pretty quickly but things do go too fast when you are having fun both onstage and off...

Set List: Straight To Hell/The Hammer Falls/Down By The River/Angel Of Death/Halo/Call Of The Wild/Gunslinger/World On Fire/War Pigs/I Will Follow You/Written In Stone/Deal With The Devil/Rattlesnake Woman/What Doesn't Kill You/Sleep, Awake, Obey!

The Burnley born man, Jack J. Hutchinson, our headliner takes to the stage with his trio completed by Lazaras Michaelides (Bass) & Felipe Amorim (Drums) who give us a blast of classic rock, hard rock, southern rock and a bit of blues in there plus a cover thrown in for good measures that starts up with the energetic 'Straight To Hell'.

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Other highlights included the balladeering almost Oasis like 'Angel Of Death'; the current uplifting single of positivity called 'Halo'; the southern grooving greatness of 'Deal With The Devil' & the gutsy ender 'Sleep, Awake, Obey!'

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The locals just cannot resist continually reminding him what county he is in tonight either.... this mainly being the RTB crowd who are kindly sponsored by Red Stripe... hahahaha... He's a great guitarist although not the best vocalist in the world but I'll let him off for that because he totally won our hearts over with his witty stories and plenty of humour thrown in tonight. His brother Sam came down tonight which completely surprised him – saying he was the good looking one in the family – lol.

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Nice to see a killer cover of 'War Pigs' which he performs at times stood on his personalised box – informing us jokily that he slipped off it the night before at the O2 in Islington and got his guitar tangled up in the mike stand with his bassist and drummer pissing themselves at! No such bad luck tonight though and all runs perfectly smooth.

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A great poser too with those guitars, making him a joy to watch and photograph – you just never know when he is gonna thrown out a good move which were so easy to miss at times – luckily I managed to capture a few of them.

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Love the fact that he broke the show up a bit too by performing a lovely song that he wrote about his dad who was diagnosed with dementia on his Tanglewood acoustic entitled 'I Will Follow You' that was definitely the standout out song of the set. A disease that has affected many of us one way or another in observatory tragic way.

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A cool bit of audience participation time too where Jack had us singing a line of one of his songs with him as well as asking us if we wanted on encore? Of course we did... after we him and the band came out to meet everyone, sign stuff and have pix with folk too.

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We'll see both acts again later in the year.

By Glenn Milligan