MiG Music 2022
Former child prodigy proves he ain’t no enfant terrible with a blue streak but rather a master of his trade.
With his debut record hitting the shelves in 2006, when this artist was only 13, by 2019 Krissy Matthews established a seasoned presence on the blues scene. No wonder, then, that, when the British-Norwegian’s group appeared at Crossroads Festival in Bonn on the day of the “Monster In Me” album release, the crowd eagerly embraced the young veteran’s performance. It more than deserved to see the light of day on both CD and DVD, being a riveting treat in audio and on video.
His old-bluesman headgear of bandana over hat and a firm grasp on the Chicago idiom can’t conceal Krissy’s still-green vigor serving as a bond for the entire group – the tight-knit unit of buddies who love to hang out together on- and off-stage, which is why the pseudo-sparse opener “Level With The Devil” sends energy levels into the red from the get-go for the tension to not let up until the buoyant finale of “Bad Boy” and see the guitarist’s licks get hotter and hotter to the steady beat of Kev Hickman’s drums and the guttural rumble of Josh Rigal’s bass. The results are irresistible on the likes of “Gotta Stay, Gotta Leave” where Matthews’ mellifluous roar and viscous, if fast, solo feel infectious, and where the trio’s telepathy is magnificent, so when the sharp riffs of “I’ve Been Searching” make the singer roam the planks, jump and grimace as per emotional dictate, the listener’s effort to remain calm will have “futile” written all over it.
There’s gloomy vibrancy to the voice-and-twang unison of “Is This The Love I Think It Is?” whose groove seems funereal until the rhythm section fathom the piece’s depth, and a rock ‘n’ roll abandon to “Paranoid Prison” which is bound to enrapture and entrap the punters, as the Krissy and Rigal fiercely pluck their strings and Hickman’s arms go flying. The band’s dynamic interplay and their leader’s deceptively raw technique impress even more on such perennials as “Sitting On The Top Of The World” and “Killing Floor” – the funky latter complete with a showcase from each of the musicians – while the call-and-response take on Hendrix’s “Freedom” and the nervous, heavy frenzy of “Easy Meat” reveal the ensemble’s previously tentative edge. It’s the deep-cutting original “Monster In Me” that shows their full dramatic capabilities, though, and this show has all the spectacular qualities Matthews should require to claim his permanent space on the blues pedestal.