29 March 2012

The hype was aplenty, their name plastered all over most rock magazines over the course of the last 12 months or so (well the good ones at least) and 5 star reviews for their debut album, Rival Sons were here!

Their sound is heavily retro, like blasting out live rock and roll through primitive amps harking back to the 60’s hero’s Zep and company. They had two seriously impressive qualities. One, the astounding range of their vocalist who’s muscular pipes flex from wails to deep booms in the blink of an eye and Two, some seriously good rhythm guitar lines. Yet there were only a couple of tracks where they came together and really revved up the crowd.

Rival Sons

The issue I had is their retro’ness. I’m all for 60’s hard rock homage, but not to this extent! At first the sound is cool, but the middle of the set the soaked guitar noises start sounding recycled and by the end everything sounds the same. Yet there were flashes of brilliance, which is why I’ll be keeping a close eye on them come album #2.

The main event was up and Black Stone Cherry flew out of the blocks plying their hard hitting thunderous guitar riffs, all southern style. Their thirst and desire to have a good time show the world how to rock right coupled with their impeccable run of brilliant LP’s can only end in glory. Their run of huge support shows with Altar Bridge clearly have them stoked. Having seen them on a few previous occasions I can proclaim they have upped their game once again. Most notably with the arrangement of their tunes, playing about with the rigid recorded formats adding in live nuances like pauses, crowd rousing calls, building crescendo’s and plenty of guitar improvisations.

Black Stone Cherry

Usually a bands new tunes are nothing but fleeting blips, but these tonight went down a storm. Their deep south guitar muscle shone on Such A Shame, Killing Floor and the stars bled for ballads In My Blood and Stay whilst their star highlight single White Trash Millionaire was hard rock at it’s very finest. You’d be hard pressed to find a catchier Hard Rock tune this decade!

Mixing up the night the Black Stone boys put down their arsenal of electric guitars and picked up their acoustics as lead guitar/vocalist Chris Robertson led a merry english sing-a-long picking some choice UK favourites to cut and paste from. The Opening verses of Champagne Supernova, Adele’s Rolling In The Deep and Amy Winehouse’s Rehab were all huge crowd hits, plus their sombre Alice In Chains cover of Down In A Hole was sublime. To throw in something totally different they even attempted a genre smashing “30-seconds of (electro-acoustic) death metal”, interesting to say the least.

Another corking hard rock fun time anthem later in the shape of Blame It On The Boom-Boom and it was end of set time. Their encore short but hard hitting with the beautiful Peace Is Free and the moshmaniacal Lonely Train. All too quickly it was over for another time, on this performance this is a show which will run and run and run…