During tonight’s gig Black Star Riders frontman Ricky Warwick took time out during the show to remind us that the band have now been a around for five years. In that time a few members have come and gone and the guys have produced three excellent albums with number four currently in the making.
Over that time I have been lucky enough to see the guys live on numerous occasions and they have proved to be one of the most consistent live acts on the circuit and always put in maximum effort. In fact my last encounter was in a very wet Mote Park in Maidstone at this year’s Ramblin’ Man festival where they stole the show on the Saturday.
Before Ricky and co. took to the stage tonight we had the delights of Swedish rockers Blues Pills. The band are fronted by the diminutive and hyperactive Elin Larsson who bounced about the stage during the set. She also gives her all in the vocal delivery, belting out the lyrics like a young Janis Joplin.
The power blues of ‘Lady In Gold’ got thing off to a good start and was well received by the crowd. The band have been touring extensively over the last few years, although this was their first Edinburgh visit, and it shows. The twin guitar work of Dorian Sourriaux and touring member Rickard Nygren was solid throughout as was the rhythm section of Zach Anderson and Andre Kvarnstrom.
Set highlights included ‘Black Smoke’ and ‘High Class Women’ which when announced prompted the guy in front of me to turn and proclaim it as his all time favourite song, high praise indeed. The band also threw in a cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic ‘Somebody To Love’ which went down well. The set was then rounded off with a lively ‘Devil Man’ with Erin again very animated throughout.A good set then from a band who are very much in the ascendancy at the moment.
After a brief set change Black Star Riders took to the stage to a huge cheer. Ricky Warwick, looking every inch the rock star led the band into ‘All Hell’s Breaking Loose’, an apt opening song. On this tour the band have a minimal stage set up and the focus is purely on the music. The Queens Hall is also quite an intimate venue which meant that all the crowd were fairly up close and personal which added to the atmosphere.
‘Finest Hour’ and the excellent title track from the band’s latest album ‘Heavy Fire’ followed in quickfire fashion. Ricky then introduced ‘Testify Or Say Goodbye’ reminding us that it was a Radio Two record of the week when released, fame indeed! Set highlights were plentiful with the set list featuring a good mix of the new and old with a couple of Thin Lizzy tracks added to remind us of the band’s roots.
‘Soldierstown’ allowed the band’s newest member, drummer Chad Szeliga, to flex his rhythmic muscles on the celtic inspired track whilst ‘When The Night Comes In’ rocked along at a breakneck speed. ‘Cold War Love’ then slowed the pace before a bombastic ‘Bloodshot’ raised the temperature once more.
Thin Lizzy favourite ‘Jailbreak’ was greeted with a massive cheer, the crowd singing every word bringing a broad smile to Scott Gorham’s face. More by chance than design I usually find myself standing stage right in front of Mr Gorham but tonight I switched to the left and got to watch Damon Johnson work his fretboard magic. His soloing during the epic ‘Blindsided’ was a joy to watch with the slower, intricate passages being played with ease.
After that it was back in full rocking mode with ‘The Killer Instinct’ and ‘Kingdom Of The Lost’ raising the roof. ‘Bound For Glory’ was turned into a bit of a singalong before Johnson and Warwick rang out the opening chords of ‘Whisky In The Jar’ which finished off the set and brought to a close another BSR show.
So, five years in and Black Star Riders continue to impress and with album number four in the offing who would bet against Ken Bruce bringing more rock to the airwaves of Radio Two very soon?
Review and photos by Dave Wilson
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Power Plays w/c 14 October (Mon-Fri)
SANGUINE Ignite (Odyssey Music)
GOODBYE JUNE Switchblade Heart (Earache)
SAINTS OF SIN Nasty Love (indie)
SCARLET REBELS Heal (indie)
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KEYWEST C’est La Vie (indie)
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12:00-13:00 ECLIPSE Paradigm (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 GALLAGHER & LYLE Live at De Montfort Hall, 1977 (The Store For Music)
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