Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: Rollin' down the Black Stone Cherry highway in Belfast

A FEW years ago Black Stone Cherry seemingly came from nowhere, a hard rockin' southern US band full of passion, riffs and songs, backed a label that seemed to understand where they were coming from, and four guys who seemed to have hard work ingrained in their core.

Moving from bigger and bigger venues Black Stone Cherry now arrived in Belfast's Mandella Hall (October 24th) to deliver their latest salvo of pure rock to a sold out venue.

With Airbourne left off the Irish leg of the tour Theory of a Deadman had to take up the slack. There were quite a few people there familiar with the Canuck's back catalogue to have some sort of a half decent reception.

Lengthening their set compared to other dates on the tour enabled them to add in the likes of the misogynistic 'Bitch Came Back' and 'Bad Girlfriend' but they only seemed to come alive when they played the more muscular songs.

Some cynical fans compared them to Nickelback 'Lite' but on reflection it has to be said that they carve their own furrow and on 'Carve' they seemed to gel.

But despite the cheers for Theory of a Deadman it was a hall rumbling roar that greeted Black Sine Cherry. And, from metalheads to rockers, casuals to pop-ish types, through to death metal types it seemed that it was a unifying force from Kentucky that brought it all together.

From the opening chords of 'Rain Wizard' through to '30 Seconds of Death Metal' the audience was enraptured. Part of this due to the energy of the band, which was fed upon by the crowd, and as a result the band reacted.

Chris Robertson is a fine lead man, while Ben is a hyperactive presence, too energetic for most of people to keep up with.

'Me and Mary Jane' was received as well as the more familiar tracks, while 'Things My Father Said' was almost existential in both its delivery and the reaction of the audience.

 The segue from 'Hollywood In Kentucky' to 'Hell and Highwater' and 'Soulcreek' was a smooth movement for the band, as Jon Lawhon's bass and John Fred Young laid down drum lines that tied it all together.

'White Trash Millionaire', 'Blame It On The Boom Boom' followed by the encore of 'Peace is Free', 'Lonely Train' and the literal '30 Seconds of Death Metal' was a powerful conclusion to the night.

Black Stone Cherry may be dismissed by some as another hyped up rock band, riding  a corporate tide, when in reality they come across as four genuine blue collar men who believe that you put out comes back to you.

Of course the inter-song schtick is well rehearsed, as may have been the line about making sure Ireland north and south was added to the tour at the insistence of the band after fan reaction but the reality is that hard work, hard rockin', hard's get the reception they deserve.

Come back soon guys!

Review by Jonny
Photos courtesy of MetalPlanet Belfast

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