[Full set of pictures is available on Flickr]
Four months after their show-stealing support slot for Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry returned to Glasgow to play their own headliner at the O2 Academy. The gig was a complete sell-out as evidenced by the nightmare we had parking in the streets around despite getting there fairly early (8-ish) after a nice dinner out at “ask”.
I guess a fair few people had made the effort to get there for doors opening so that they could catch the support act, Rival Sons. Recently signed to Earache after releasing their own debut album digitally, the band seem to have gained a decent following and a good portion of the crowd was cheering each song.
Frankly, though, I don’t know why. They were awful. Slow, boring, widdly, no charisma, no stage presence, dull songs… I couldn’t think of anything positive to say about them. In fact, I thought they’d learned a lesson from Alter Bridge in not having a support band blow you off stage by deliberately getting a crap one.
In fairness, their music just wasn’t my kind of thing. If I had to pigeon-hole them then I’d start throwing band names like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and (someone else mentioned this) White Stripes around. All decent enough bands, but none of which I’d really say I like. As ever, they weren’t helped by the awful sound mix. Every time the singer tried to talk to the crowd, the guitarist would be widdling away. Even quietly, his notes would drown out every word – a common problem at the Academy.
They did seem to divide the crowd. I heard two kinds of comments – “they were brilliant” and “they sucked balls”. Did anyone think they just fell somewhere in the middle?
Anyway, earlier than I’d usually expect a band to appear, Black Stone Cherry strode on stage at nine and kick-started an excellent ninety minute set.
Barely pausing for breath, they must have made it through half a dozen tracks before Chris Robertson talked to the crowd… and then plunged into another medley. Song after song ploughed through the crowd as the band looned about like a bunch of teenagers play-acting in a garage.
Musically, they are simply superb. Incredibly tight, not a note wrong and with a huge amount of energy. Robertson himself was the most stationary (even moreso than drummer John Fred Young who must have spent a quarter of the gig on his feet), though did stand on a monitor now and again. Ben Wells and Jon Lawhon, however, were all over the shop. Name a stereotypical “rock pose” and they pulled it at some point.
I don’t think they failed to play a single good song from any of their albums, although they did – technically – fail to sing one. “Things My Father Said” was performed vocally 100% by the crowd, with the band settling for musical accompaniment.
My facebook and Twitter feeds are full of praise for Black Stone Cherry after the gig and it’s deserved. However, if I may be contentious, I still think that Shinedown pip them so far as “gig of the year”, with the exception of Rammstein which is just on another level.
- Alter Bridge / Black Stone Cherry / Theory of a Deadman – Glasgow SECC (moshville.me.uk)
- Rammstein / Deathstars – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena (moshville.me.uk)
- Shinedown / Halestorm – Glasgow O2 Academy (moshville.me.uk)