It’s only been three months since Sari Schorr was last in the Midlands as part of her own headline tour. Tonight sees her in a stripped down format with Scott Ralph accompanying on acoustic guitar. The opening salvo of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Back To LA’ prove that the acoustic setting does nothing to hide Sari’s powerhouse vocals . With an attentive crowd you get the feeling that she could almost do away with the mic altogether. ‘Turn On The Radio’ has a rawness to it that sounds like Bonnie Tyler at her peak.
There is a uniqueness in the way that Sari engages with the crowd; a refreshing honesty and passion when she chats between songs that pulls you in and when she talks of domestic abuse before ‘Damn The Reason’ it really makes you pay attention to the lyrics. Half an hour really isn’t enough, but to finish she leaves us with a cover of McCartney’s ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’.
When actors turn their hand to music there’s always some anticipation with regard to the type of audience that will turn up. When Jeff Beck last played Birmingham you can probably safely assume that those females in attendance that started screaming when Johnny Depp appeared on stage weren’t discussing the finer points of Beck’s guitar tone in detail over a couple of pints of mild after the show. Fortunately Kiefer Sutherland is one artist who seems to have crossed that bridge with ease. With three albums under his belt he is now firmly established and the majority of the audience are already familiar with his repertoire including those off his latest album Bloor Street.
The stage is very understated, dressed with an occasional table boasting a lamp, water and whisky and the band take up their positions with Sutherland coming on last dressed in a smart black suit. Contrary to how the stage looks, the up tempo opener ‘Ole’ Lonely Life’ is a belting country rocker that dispels any notion that this evening may be a sedate affair.
His particular take on Americana has songs that lean more towards country and others have a significant rock bent. Surrounding himself with some excellent experienced supporting musicians, in particular Ash Wilson and Roger Inniss, give the set a slightly harder edge than anticipated. ‘Two Stepping In Time’ has a real Tom Petty feel about it and the later inclusion of two deep cuts from the Petty canon succinctly confirm Sutherland’s influences. Many of his songs are semi autobiographical and with the life he’s had so far, there’s certainly plenty of inspiration to hand. His time as a professional rodeo rider is told in ‘Reckless & Me’, while the more country ‘Bloor Street’ reflects on his earlier life growing up in Toronto. He reveals that most of Bloor Street was written during the pandemic and h realised that this period did change him and he now more focused on hope which serves as a suitable segue into ‘So Full Of Love’.
The pace then picks up as we head to the end of the set with the freight train boogie of ‘This Is How It’s Done’, the aforementioned Petty cover of ‘Honey Bee’ and the heavy groove of ‘Down In A Hole’. The encore then throws more in more twists as Sutherland returns to the stage without guitar to sing ‘Friday Night’ and follows up with ‘Agave’ bringing some Latin rhythms into the mix and clearly he’s had a lot of fun in Coventry. A feeling reciprocated by the crowd for this superb show.
Ole’ Lonely Life
Can’t Stay Away
Chasing the Rain
Something You Love
Reckless & Me
Two Stepping in Time
Blame It on Your Heart (Patty Loveless cover)
County Jail Gate
Ways to Be Wicked (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)
So Full of Love
Set Me Free
This Is How It’s Done
Honey Bee (Tom Petty cover)
Down in a Hole