Gig Review: Fires with Adam Barnes + Apostle Thomas @ The Lexington 09/02/2015

Fires 5

Tonight is the debut of Karima Francis’ new band Fires, with support provided by Adam Barnes and Apostle Thomas…

Tonight is the debut of Karima Francis’ new band Fires, with support provided by Adam Barnes and Apostle Thomas.

Adam Barnes is a plangent singer/songwriter who looks and sounds as if he could easily be a member of Fleet Foxes. He is accompanied by a mate on backing vocals and occasional Stratocaster. The beautiful bell-like tones of the Stratocaster do nothing to disrupt the overall quiet, delicate, melodic sound however. The harmonies are a bit fab too. Barnes 1


The cover of Whitney Houston’s I Want To Dance With Somebody is a tad unexpected to say the least! Adam Barnes is shy, funny, and a bit diffident. He does however have the Lexington crowd eating out of his hand. At one point he sings off-mic, and you can hear a pin drop. More gigs soon please Adam!

Thomas 3 up Apostle Thomas are a four-piece comprising two guitars, keyboards and drums. What bass there is comes from the drums. Everybody sings apart from the keyboard player, and there is a definite hint of Stornoway about them. The drummer plays drums and trumpet simultaneously – is he some kind of freak??? As a whole their sound is fairly restrained, but there are one or two surprisingly stinging guitar solos that erupt occasionally. Interesting, but not outstanding. Thomas 4 up
Thomas 1 up


The last time I saw Karima Francis she was a solo acoustic performer supporting Jack Savoretti. Tonight she unveils her fully electric band Fires, but I do not have the slightest urge to shout ‘Judas’!

The band have something of a classic rock sound reminiscent of The Band, with Karima showing off lead guitar skills which would have had Robbie Robertson looking over his shoulder. However, there are occasional echoes of P J Harvey as well. Fires 7
Fires 4 All of the songs have a heartfelt feel to them, and the Hammond organ serves to emphasise that. One fast song starts with a feedback drenched intro that evokes the spirit of Hendrix. There’s a girl at the front head-banging, and the song totally deserves that! Regrets has a groove and a half, whilst Shout is really punchy and would make a great single, featuring nice interplay between the guitar and the Hammond.


The key thing about tonight’s gig is that Fires’ material is completely different to Karima’s solo stuff. One can’t help feeling that this might be the beginning of something rather good.

Mark Kelly