Jack J Hutchinson @Newcastle Cluny 2, April 30 2024

Jack J Hutchinson is fighting for his rock and roll future armed with latest album Battles. Here’s what we learned from the blues rocker’s latest trip to Tyneside.

Time flies when you’re having fun

Can it really be five years since Jack J Hutchinson commanded the Cluny crowd — opening up for big buddy Kris Barras and treating the Geordie faithful to a joyous amalgam of ‘Cream mashed up with Black Country Communion’?

According to the Rushonrock vaults it was 2019 when the UK’s hardest grafting blues brothers joined forces for a tour that breathed new life into the fledgling NWOCR scene.

Both Barras and Hutchinson have come on leaps and bounds during half a decade that’s brought us a pandemic, Brexit and more.

And both have introduced a harder edge to their captivating live sets. If lockdown set The Hammer Falls introduced the doomier side of Hutch then latest release Battles is his angriest material yet.

Both albums featured prominently on this classy Cluny return as Jack the lad doubled down in his reputation as the ultimate riff lord.

Don’t have a kickabout before you kick off your tour

Although he doesn’t require a Dave Grohl-style throne — yet — poor Jack was clearly fighting through the pain barrier during his 80-minute Toon set.

But the bearded blues rocker only had himself to blame.

Who’s crazy enough to play five-a-side with a bunch of kids half his age just three days before a UK headline tour?

Erm… that would be Jack J Hutchinson.

One torn calf muscle later and the normally fleet-footed frontman moved gingerly across the tight Cluny stage, wincing ahead of every fresh solo.

In fact, it’s a miracle he managed to get up on stage and off again in those skintight jeans and unforgiving boots.

Hip Slickin’? Not quite.

But when the songs are this good a little leg injury isn’t going to stand in the way of riotous rock and roll.

Battles live is more like a victory march

There was never any doubt that Battles would emerge as a Rushonrock Record Of The Week.

But how would that monster of an album translate to the live stage?

Seamlessly is the answer.

At the last count — and GCSE maths was never a strength — Jack unleashed eight of Battles’ 10 tracks in the Toon.

And every one sounded like a bona fide banger.

The killer Constellations, meandering Road To Hell, devlish Days Are Gone and set closer Overdrive (a staged encore followed!) were the pick.

But’s it’s a testament to the strength of Hutch’s latest — and some might say greatest — work that the new tunes are every bit as compelling as classics Down By The River and Call Of The Wild.

Don’t ever Jack it in

Time for the truth.

Jack J Hutchinson should be drawing far bigger crowds.

Sure, it’s tough to sell tickets on a Tuesday night in Newcastle but this boy’s a generational talent.

Lyrically on the button and boasting Bernie Marsden-esque chops, Burnley’s finest is a national treasure.

Regularly played on Planet Rock and a go-to festival cert, Hutch possesses the full package.

But he needs support. And more of it.

Gigging in 2024’s no easy game but Jack’s playing for keeps.

It’s time for the NWOCR community to spread the word more loudly and keep this rock and roll asset on the road for years to come.