Black Stone Cherry loves the UK and it is very much reciprocated as we get a second tour in the calendar year after their arena dates with Shinedown and Halestorm in February. But this was a bit different with it being billed as an evening with Black Stone Cherry meaning they were their own support with a 45 minute acoustic set followed by a 90 minute electric set. Stripped back bare with stools and fairy lights and rugs on the floor this was music as it should be stripped back as it was written and giving Chris Robertson the chance to bare his soul with a vocal performance that was awe inspiring. Acoustic setlist:
In Our Dreams Hell And High Water Like I Roll Rambler Things My Father Said Stay Big City Lights All I’m Dreaming Of Great to see some songs rarely played before with Big City Nights from Folklore's special edition the real treat with the bands sense of melody and hooks vibrant. Hell And High Water was a debut album cut that really came across very well in this format although the loudest crowd response was for Like I Roll that was sung to the rafters by all. Things My Father Said is always a highlight and Chris's vocal was emotion packed and not a dry eye in the house as the lyrics hit home. As they brought that part of the show to a close Ben Wells on guitar who did amazingly well to sit down for the whole set said right when we come back you are all on your feet.
And in 30 minutes as they hit the Empire like an out of control bulldozer we all did as we were told as they hit us with one of the heaviest sets I can ever remember while Ben ran around head banging and trading sides with John Lawhon to their hearts content. Electric setlist:
Devils Queen Soul Machine Bad To The Bone (George Thorogood & The Destroyers cover) Soul Creek Please Come In Darkest Secret Killing Floor White Trash Millionaire Whole Lotta Love (intro Led zeppelin cover) Cheaper To Drink Alone Me And Mary Jane Built For Comfort (Willie Dixon & Memphis Slim cover) In My Blood Blind Man Shakin' My Cage Blame It On The Boom Boom Lonely Train Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix cover) I was always surprised Devil's Queen off Folklore wasn't played on the original tour and here made for a frantic opener with the twin guitar duelling from Ben and Chris at the end of the song an evening highlight. Mid stage Chris Robertson is the bands rock with his vocal harmonies reaching right into every nook and cranny of this famous venue and his guitar soloing is fiery and concise and never over playing. At the back John Fred Young is one of the world's best drummers.He struggled to play lightly in the acoustic set but is a total blur and hair as he beats his kit into submission and drives the band to ever greater heights. Kentucky shows it's class with Soul Machine,Darkest Secret and Shakin' My Cage all as heavy as an elephant in jackboots and all possessing groove,hooks and melodies that most bands would die for. It shows how many great songs the band have that we didn't get debut cd cuts Maybe Someday,Rain Wizard or Backwoods Gold and none were missed. Blame It On The Boom Boom had the whole venue bouncing and screaming along before Lonely Train and a quick blast through Voodoo Chile brought a simply fantastic evening to a close. Black Stone Cherry are the here and now and the future of rock music and for that we can be truly thankful.