Kiefer Sutherland landed in Manchester, polished cowboy boot first, to deliver the live tour of his debut album; “Down in a hole”.
Often when an actor makes the switch from screen to the platform of music it can generate a sense of suspicion and scorn. Will they be any good? Is this endeavour simply based on ego or self-indulgence? Are they “cashing” in?
I have to confess I was full of curiosity to grasp whether Keifer could make the switch and add musician to his CV with confidence and ease. Not that he cares, as Keifer himself has made no apology for not really giving much gravitas to critic’s opinion on his musical ability. He simply wants to “make music”.
Observing the audience at this sold out gig this evening, it is apparent there is a majority of fanatical, sorry, “passionate” fans who are clearly welcoming of this opportunity to see an actor of Kiefer’s’ status up close and in the flesh. (One hysterical, sobbing lady was so beside herself with the chance to be this close, I thought I may have to administer mouth to mouth or grab one of the imposing security team for emergency medical assistance such was her state of rapture!)
Opening to a thunderous applause, interjected with shouts of female adoration. (half expecting a deluge of underwear to be thrown on stage!) Kiefer was clearly at ease as would be expected of a man who has spent much of his life in the public domain!
Swaggering onto the stage, donning a wide-brimmed hat, a neatly tied crisp neckerchief, seemingly immersing himself in methodology for the role of “Millenial cowboy.” Kiefer launched into “Cant stay away” and the crowd sang along word perfect, as they do for most of the set. (I’m not going to name-check the setlist here though as to be honest, after the 5th track I was beginning to become restless.
Although I am pleasantly surprised at his ability to hold a tune, the lyrical depth, and musical technicality doesn’t really go beyond “OK.” for me.
The first half of this evening, for me, was quite solemn and a little over sentimental. That’s not to say the intention and feeling wasn’t genuine, but it transferred as being a little too rehearsed and insincere.
Kiefer gave a nod to the recent tragedy here in Manchester, which was a welcomed gesture to the home crowd.
Clearly, Kiefer’s raspy vocal is well suited to the country genre, and his delivery wasn’t murderous or in need of an on stage autotune but I wasn’t in awe of any particular vocal range and I wasn’t taken aback by a “grab you by the throat” class of energy.
Kiefer undoubtedly has a passion and need to make (country) music and for a first offering, this album and live set isn’t as questionable as some critics would have you believe. Nonetheless, for me, it hasn’t convinced me either that Keifer has a legitimate stake on a musical career going forward.
The gig tonight has left me firmly perched on the White picket fence, chewing a strand of straw feeling unmoved in either direction. The fullness of time and further material will ultimately be the deciding factor as to whether Mr. Sutherland has indeed made the transition to the credible artist. Even if he is insistent that this new venture is purely a wish to work out his nuance’s in a musical sphere.