It’s always a trip to see a Hollywood star in the flesh. Kiefer Sutherland might have been more famous for his roles on the smaller screen recently (see Designated Survivor), but his appeal is still massive.
Two albums into a recording career, and Sutherland is relentlessly touring with his band. This is his second show in Manchester this year, and more dates are scheduled for 2020.
Support on this tour comes from the supremely talented Twinnie. She brings more than a shade of glamour to the stage in Manchester in an all in one sparkly outfit.
By her own admission, her music career is in its infancy but the crowd in Manchester warmed to her instantly with a strong and controlled voice that oozed class and emotion. I’d guess that her music career won’t spend long in it’s infancy.
The sound is heavily influenced by Nashville (she has just finished recording her debut LP there), but that is exactly what this crowd wanted. Her recorded sound is a little more poppy but the double acoustic set up serves her perfectly here. It’s a rawer introduction to an artist that really ensures you can appreciate her voice.
Odes to her ‘shit love life,’ a single tender ballad and a rousing Better When Drunk all make for a varied set. A cover of Take Me Home, Country Road has all of Manchester Ritz in the palm of Twinnie’s hands.
Twinnie looks destined for success. She is certainly going the right way about it and enamouring herself to the masses in Manchester with her self deprecating wit and charm will have done no harm.
Keifer Sutherland is greeted with a great roar as he bounds onstage; all wide-eyed, dressed in white suit jacket, scarf and wide-brimmed hat. He makes shapes of kinds and is clearly living his country rock dream.
His band; a talented bunch of men; deliver songs from his latest album with great verve and vigour. The slide guitar work on Can’t Stay Away is an early highlight. During the title track, the lap steel is served up to really tap into that true country sound.
Nearly every song is book-ended with a usually witty story. Shirley Jean is preceded by a recollection of The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash et al) and of the reality of death row, Something You Love is an ode to making yourself happy, the title track recalls Kiefer’s days in the rodeo and Faded Pair of Blue Jeans is a love song for those who have ploughed through the ups and downs. There is also a wonderful story of I’ll Do Anything being inspired by watching Bridget Jones Diary with his dog.
One of the highlights of Reckless & Me is Saskatchewan. Sutherland actually regales the crowd with the sombre tale of his mother potentially dying after the song. He wrote it en route home towards her seeming death. There was a deathly silence (due to the crowd shushing a few louder chatterers) as Kiefer had everyone hanging on his every word. The tale is ultimately happy, and the crowd are drawn further into the world of Kiefer Sutherland.
Going Home is a bar room song, and This Is How It’s Done is a hard-edged nod to first experiences of drinking; something that Sutherland makes no secret of his love for. Agave is another song in respect of drinking, which actually closes out the whole night in bombastic fashion.
A stomping cover of Tom Petty’s Honey Bee shows the heavier side of the bands profile. Crunching riffs and impassioned vocals help deliver a great rendition of the song. Blame It On Your Heart is another cover to make the cut, and the only cover on his two albums so far. It’s a bonafide country song that has all the hallmarks of the genre.
There are profound thanks and warmth from the stage throughout. ‘We’re just gonna have to pack you up and take you with us,’ comments Sutherland on the reception from the Mancunian crowd.
Before the night is out, Twinnie returns for a duet with Sutherland on Calling Out Your Name, and there is also time for a new song; a tale about Sutherland’s hometown of Toronto, Canada.
As far as side projects go, this is a hugely successful one from Kiefer Sutherland. He has a killer band, a wonderful wit and charm, an adoring fan base, and above all, a love for song. Talk of album number three comes from the stage. Based on this night, no one wants Sutherland to stop making music. Kiefer Sutherland is made for music.