Keifer Sutherland
Photograph by Mike Wistow

Kiefer Sutherland’s tour reached Hull Asylum last Thursday. You may know of Sutherland as a famous actor who has gone into music, so let’s clear one thing immediately, Sutherland’s music is no vanity project. He deserves be on this kind of stage as a songwriter, a player and a performer.

More than that, the concert gave me the sense that this was what he really wanted to do:  music is a passion for him, probably more than his acting; the songs were strong, the tracks of an artist taken by his muse; and the music was as well produced on stage as it if had been in the recording studio.

On Thursday night, then, Kiefer Sutherland was a man playing songs that were lyrically meaningful to him, the stories of his life played and sung with feeling, a modern storyteller who was also a great performer connecting with his audience. His band, three guitars plus keyboards, bass and drums, highly professional and matched by an equally professional sound desk. Sutherland himself had the genericism of a song writing rhythm guitarist, the songs further decorated by fine lead guitar/lap steel guitar playing, coming out of left and right speakers to make the sound fuller and the distinction between the musicians all the clearer.

Songs were picked from across Sutherland’s career, though with an obvious focus on Bloor Street, the newest album. Sutherland introduced the album as “Some of the most positive songs I’ve written. It wasn’t that I wasn’t aware of the hardships. I was profoundly grateful that my kids were ok, my friends were ok. And acutely aware of how fortunate I’ve been because of allowing me to make movies and play songs.” – ‘Going Down’, ‘Chasing the Rain’, ‘County Jail Gate’ and ‘So Full of Love’ were particularly memorable performances.

For much of the set Sutherland was bathed in purple lighting, an actor’s presence bestriding the stage in the colours of a Roman emperor. By turns, the band were country/americana, had elements of the E-Street Band (emperors build on their predecessors), and, after the gateway ‘This Is How It’s Done’, he closed with three stunningly performed final tracks introduced as “We’re gonna rock out a bit for you”. The backdrop changed to martial red and country picking turned into machine gun padded plucking, the sound fuzzy, heavy. Even though heavier music has been part of Sutherland’s albums since 2016’s ‘Down in a Hole’ to see it live was both a revelation and a delight.

Support was provided by Fine Lines, the British Americana band, who kicked the evening off perfectly, warming us up with seven songs giving their own slant on the genre. I’d like to have seen the full seven-piece band (there were only five Fine Lines players for the tour) but to say they came across with the credibility to play alongside the act that followed gives a sense of how well they put their songs over and how tightly they played them.

And finally…. There is a story that the Who’s 1970 Live in Leeds was supposed to be Live in Hull the following February night, but there was an issue with recording. Asylum is a relatively new venue in Hull. Both the venue layout and the sound quality were superb.

This was a belter of an evening.

Mike Wistow

Artist’s website:

‘Chasing The Rain’ – official video: