The set list of tonight’s show spoke volumes about how Black Star Riders have developed over the last few years. The fact that it only contained one Thin Lizzy number shows that BSR have now thrown off the ‘band formally know as’ tag and are full established in their own right. I put this down to two things, the first being the quality of the three albums the guys have produced and the second is the fact that their live performances are always memorable.
As with the last UK tour the band had two nights booked in Glasgow and on this occasion the dates were billed as co-headline shows with local heroes, Gun. The guys in Gun are Glasgow boys through and through and as such they have always have a large local following and were greeted on stage with a very warm welcome. The set was comprised of songs old and new with all the hits present and correct.
Opening with ‘Let It Shine’ from their last album ‘Frantic’ the Gizzi brothers, Dante and Jools, looked like children on Christmas morning. ‘Word Up’ followed to keep the tempo up before the guys plunged back in time with ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’. As well as the classics the band also aired a new track from their forthcoming album which is recorded and scheduled for release soon. The track ‘She Knows’ hints at the band taking a similar path as they did on Frantic with harder edge songs with a strong melody which bodes well.
‘Steal Your Fire’ and ‘Shame On You’ brought things to an end but the band had time for one final song in the shape of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Fight For The Right To Party’ which went down a storm. To be fair the guys didn’t have to fight that hard to bring the party to the ABC and with the promise of the new album and another Glasgow date later in the year Gun are proving that they are still firing on all cylinders.
A wailing of sirens heralded the incoming ‘Heavy Fire’ provided by Black Star Riders. The title track of the new album opened proceedings with Ricky Warwick looking every inch the rock star in cream jacket and dark shades. ‘Bloodshot’ followed keeping the pace up with the rhythm section of Robbie Crane and Jimmy DeGrasso pumping out the Celtic flavoured bassline as if their lives depended on it.
The set was culled from all three albums with the emphasis being on the new album material and for me it was the new album tracks which made the biggest impact. With Heavy Fire the band have gone on maximum attack and a lot of the tracks have a heavier edge to them. The likes of ‘Who Rides The Tiger’ and ‘When The Night Comes In’ were written to be played live, fast paced and as heavy as an overweight hippo, both tracks went down a storm.
It wasn’t all about the new though as one of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for the token Lizzy track, and as the opening riff to ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ rang out the crowd screamed along in unison.
Before the guys played ‘Testify Or Say Goodbye’ Ricky took time out to thank Radio Two’s Ken Bruce, ‘a rocking Glaswegian’, for making it his single of the week and bringing it to a wider audience. He also thanked the crowd for getting the album to number 6 in the charts, again more evidence of the band’s current status within rock circles.
The set was finally rounded off with ‘Bound For Glory’ and ‘Finest Hour’ with dry ice jets firing off around the stage bringing things to a smoky climax.
Black Star Riders continue to go from strength to strength and I would urge anyone with an interest in rock to check them out on stage as soon as possible. The guys are playing the Ramblin’ Man festival in July and have said they will be back in Scotland at the tail end of the year so brace yourself for more ‘Heavy Fire’ throughout 2017.
Review and photos by Dave Wilson
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