|Black Stone Cherry/Rival Sons - London, Kentish Town, HMV Forum - 28th March 2012|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Friday, 13 April 2012 05:20|
In the current climate of cancelled festivals due to alleged poor tickets sales, it's refreshing to see two (fairly) new bands teaming up and selling out almost an entire tour. Such is the popularity of Black Stone Cherry and Rivals Sons that this show is one of the many that is completely sold out.
Rival Sons have flown in from the US straight from recording a new album to undertake this tour, and they're certainly one reason why this is a sell out as they draw a bigger and more enthusiastic crowd than your regular support band would command. Rival Sons have been one busy band over the last 12 months, touring with acts as diverse as Judas Priest, Evanescence and now Black Stone Cherry, as well as undertaking their own headlining tours. Consequently the band has grown in stature and confidence over that period, and they've really honed their stagecraft too. Frontman Jay Buchanan, now with extremely long flowing locks, prowls the stage clad in a leather coat looking every inch a young Jim Morrison, with the moves to match.
Rivals Sons' set is almost exclusively made up of material from last year's triumphant 'Pressure & Time' album, plus a few gems from the preceding 'Rival Sons' EP, so none of that freshly recorded new material is on offer yet. Large sections of the crowd are clearly by now well familiar with the band's material as they rip through the likes of 'Burn Down Los Angeles', 'Pressure & Time', 'Gypsy Heart' and 'All Over The Road' to a great response. Buchanan gets a chance to shine during 'Soul', with his soulful wailing thrilling most of the crowd. It's a shame this was mildly marred by one dickhead calling for Black Stone Cherry during a particularly quiet moment (yeah, as if they're gonna come on any earlier just because you're shouting, asshole!). In fact this does nothing more than rally the Sons' fans in the crowd to cheer even louder as they launch into the awesome set closer of 'Get What's Coming'. On the evidence of this set, what is coming is another triumphant Rival Sons album and even greater success for a band clearly on a roll.
As well as Rivals Sons set went down tonight, there's only one headliner here tonight, and by the crowd reaction, that's clearly Black Stone Cherry. These boys have worked mighty hard on the road over the years since their debut album, and the band are now reaping the rewards, packing out venues like this with a loyal and fanatical fan base. Material from all three albums is on offer tonight, with the accent on their current, and it has to be said very well received, 'Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' album. From the off, the crowd are jumping, clapping and singing along to the likes of 'Maybe Someday', 'Blind Man', 'In My Blood' and 'White Trash Millionaire'. John Fred Young delivers a pretty tasty drum solo before the acoustic section kicks in with some 'interesting' song choices, such as Oasis' 'Champagne Supernova', Alice In Chains 'Down In A Hole' and even a bit of Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' before a rousing 'Things My Father Said' is delivered for real. 'Devil's Queen' and 'Drive' get the place truly rocking again before it's set closer time via a singalong snippet of Ami Winehouse's 'Rehab' leading straight into 'Blame It On The Boom Boom' complete with some pretty deafening audience participation. A huge reaction brings the band back for an encore of 'Peace Is Free' and first single 'Lonely Train' wraps things up nicely.
This has obviously been a very triumphant tour for Black Stone Cherry, and it is good to see a young American band carrying on some of the traditions of the old Southern Rock masters. Obviously, the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band and Molly Hatchet are only an influence on this band, and the sound they do have is their own fusion of those influences mixed with a modern rock/metal approach. Personally, I find some of Black Stone cherry's stuff a little too clean, commercial and bland in places, and would much rather have seen, say, Blackfoot in their heyday kicking some serious Southern ass. However, I can't in any way argue with the reception Black Stone Cherry received here tonight or the popularity they have - all hail the new Southern Rock kings for a new generation!
Photo Kudos; Ant May