Black Stone Cherry at the Academy – Review and Photos
Dublin has a very passionate rock and metal scene, which is evident from those waiting to see tonight’s hard rock veterans. After only being here in October of last year, Black Stone Cherry have returned once again to the Academy to play a show to some die-hard fans (Black Stone Cherry tattoos are not a rarity), and those who just love the hard rock scene, and the music that fuels it.
To supply some fuel to this fire are UK hard rockers The Fallen State. They take to the stage and open their set with ‘Get Up’. They play a surprisingly short but very effective set including ‘Burn It To The Ground’, a definite highlight of their set. While watching their performance, it’s hard not to compare them to a young Alter Bridge, with Stenning here taking the place of a younger, British Myles Kennedy, with Mark Tremonti influenced guitar playing heard throughout their entire repertoire. For a band that only formed in 2013, they have definitely found their sound, and present their style with true professionalism and ease. This is definitely a band for fans of Black Stone Cherry and Alter Bridge, oozing with hard rock and catchy melodies. It was a very memorable performance and they are a name to look out for in the future.
Now that there’s fuel for the fire, it’s time to drop the flame, and that’s exactly what Black Stone Cherry does when they open with ‘Rain Wizard’, sending to The Academy into an explosive force to be reckoned with. Tonight is a singalong from the very beginning, with voices howling around the venue. These total pros play a hard-to-fault set including ‘Me and Mary Jane’, ‘White Trash Millionaire’, ‘Holding On…To Letting Go’, ‘In My Blood’, ‘Bad Luck and Hard Love’ ,‘Soulcreek’ and a Willie Dixon cover of ‘Built for Comfort’. A rock show would not be complete with an insane drum solo somewhere in the middle of the performance; tonight’s being supplied by John Fred Young. At one stage during his drum solo, he decides that drum sticks are overrated and begins to drum with various other body parts including his hands and elbows; pretty insane. Along with Young’s drumming being totally manic, guitarist Ben Wells is a whole other character: he’s so enthusiastic, with his entire body flailing about and making sure there were no quiet moments throughout the show (thanks Wells, that made the night a hundred times more fun). The gig could not pass without an emotional singalong (in fact, most shows can’t), which is exactly what happens during ‘Peace is Free’, with the audience taking command of vocal duties during the chorus; it’s captivating, beautiful and one of kind. It’s difficult to top something like that, but somehow they do when towards the end of the night they break into ‘Blame It On The Boom Boom’. (This is after frontman Chris Robertson begins the song with the wrong guitar). This doesn’t just become one of the loudest and wildest songs of the night, but it also becomes a massive jam session amongst the band, with some very impressive improvisation on everyone’s’ part. With no encore, they finish tonight’s performance on a high with ‘Lonely Train’ and ‘Thirty Seconds Of Death Metal’, and everyone leaves tonight sweating and sore, but very, very happy.
Bands like Black Stone Cherry are just born to be on the stage, and the songs they write are meant to be performed live. The more Dublin gets to see them do that, the better. Tonight is faultless: the two bands play flawless sets, the energy was immense and everyone leaves wanting more. Who knows, maybe we’ll see them back here in another nine months! One can only describe a Black Stone Cherry show as explosive: it’s fuelled by energy and good music, and explodes into total insanity. What more could you ask for?
Photos by David Doyle
Review by Shauna Collins