Black Star Riders - O2 Oxford 2nd December 2013

Haven't been to our local O2 for a little while, which was evident when we pulled into the normal car park to find it how had only 4 parking spaces and a bloody big Student Accommodation building site in the middle of it..thanks Oxford City Council one more less place to park in the city.  Having (eventually) found somewhere else, met some old friends and grabbed a bite to eat at the slowest fast food restaurant in the world we were settled by the bar waiting for Western Sand to come on.

..and they did, with a swagger and a confidence that made you think these guys must have at least 3 or 4 albums under their belt, but in fact their debut album is yet to be released. With a no-nonsense approach and some great vocals and guitar work, these four lads from the South of England played great melodic hard rock with a Southern Rock edge to it (my favourite!) - very impressed.

The Dead Daisies were next - the name and the logo brought to mind a punk band to be honest..but I couldn't be more wrong.. if I thought Western Sand were good, the The Dead Daisies were simply brilliant.. They play that great 70's/80's Bad Company type of song... they reminded me of The Black Crowes with Jimmy Barnes on lead vocal!

I'd heard their single "Lock 'n' Load" (with Slash on guitar) but didn't realise that it was them or that the Guns 'n' Roses history went deeper than that with the brilliant Richard Fortus (Current Guns 'n' Roses guitarist!) in the band, with Dizzy Reed (Axl's keyboard man). To me the real star was ex-Noiseworks lead vocalist Jon Stevens who has a classic set of Aussie pipes on him.  From the opener "Its gonna take time" to the frankly, frantic version of "Helter Skelter" that closed the set there was not a duff song on the set list. Once I've written this I'm ordering the CD!

ok a brief history (as I understand it..apologies if I get this wrong) . the most recent line up of Thin Lizzy wanted to record some new songs but (quite rightly) thought it should be under a different name hence Black Star Riders was born. Originally with Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Vivian Campbell and Darren Wharton.  A few changes along the way since (including Richard Fortus who is now in the Dead Daisies) and we end up with a formidable lineup of Marco Mendoza on bass, Ricky Warwick on vocals and guitar, Jimmy De Grasso on drums with Damon Johnson and of course Scott Gorham as that unmistakable twin lead guitar attack.

The Black Star Riders debut album is a cracker full of Thin Lizzy-esque tracks.. with Ricky Warwick's irish lilt being the glue that binds it all together, bringing the obvious comparison to Phil Lynott. I think don't think that the band would be as accepted without that nod to the past.

For the first hour it was great .. BSR tracks interspersed with Thin Lizzy songs.. and then they played one of the best rock songs ever written - "Emerald" and the whole gig suddenly shifted into overdrive.. "Bound for Glory", "Cowboy Song" the "Boys are back in town" ..loved it
  1. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  2. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  3. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  4. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  5. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  6. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  7. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  8. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  9. Encore:
  10. (Thin Lizzy cover)
  11. (Bob Seger cover)
Great night with 3 really good bands - all of whom come thoroughly recommended!


(Photo Credits - SJ Photography, Claudia Anthony, The Dead Daisies and Western Sand websites)

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