Black Stone Cherry @ Astoria, Soho, London
31 October 2008
It was All Hallows Eve….The street were lined with zombies and vampires but I decided to take another trip to the Astoria, this time to see one of this years brightest new classic rock shining lights. But before we get to the main event Serpico, a Glasgow post-hardcore, punk/metal band were warming up the place. Some seemed to think they were doing a fine job of this, moshing away like there’s no tomorrow. Yet i couldn’t help but feel that they have a long way to go in the live stakes. Overblown guitar noise attempted to mask their flaws, but by drowning out some speedy solo’s it didn’t work, plus the lead singer was virtually a non-entity!
Black Stone Cherry are like myself in the fact that by no means are they old enough to remember the days of classic rock. Yet the fresh faced bunch of young twenty-somethings have a massive grasp on the core of the genre. Wailing blistering soloing, skull caving drumming, dual guitar assaults all with a twist of metal and oodles of wah-wah thrown in for good measure. It is the classic rockers dream combo, and add to that a taste for the deep south influences of Skynyrd and old school blues and you have one amazing recipe on your hands.
On stage they only prove to astound! The lead singers deep American booming vocals were crisp and rank among some of the best I’ve witnessed live, not to mention his mad guitar slinging skills. Teamed with the other almost pubescent looking guitarist they create one hell of a rocking roar. Tonight they stormed through the majority of their debut album with the standout tracks being set opener Rain Wizard, true deep south inflected rocker Hell & High Water, high octane strutting of Maybe Someday and an amazing extended jam of the classic blues number Hoocie Coochie Man.
To show that they con not only just write good rock songs, they proved themselves to be fantastic musicians in their own right here tonight, after leaving for the encore the drummer decided he wasn’t finished. He then plundered the drum kit and beat it to within an inch of its life, the crowd standing in a stunned trace as the flailing arms raided each skin with incredible precision and flair. Joined by the twin guitarists who continued the flair showing their talents for blazing the fretboard in perfect harmony.
Just when you thought it was all over, these guys re-emerged for their second encore which received an almighty roar for the crowd! To top the set which came before was tricky, so BSC decided to throw in another cover, this time the classic Jimi Hendrix track Voodoo Child. So assured was the performance that all three guitarists, fed up with playing their guitars in the usual frontally slung format, raised the roof by arching the guitar behind the head to complete the great solo. Not content with that, lead singer decided to become the his dentists worst nightmare by playing a cracking melody with his teeth! Incredible! These dudes rank up with some of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen!
A fond farewell to the London crowd was greeted with a huge roar and as the lead singer explained
” theres more people in here tonight than the total population of our town”
shows how far they have come and lets hope they go on to bigger and better things. A live album was recorded here this evening as well which goes to show just how many of the stops they pulled out. I cant wait for its release of this awesome evening of Classic Rock!!!