||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
AN EVENING WITH BLACK STONE CHERRY LIKE NO OTHER
Black Stone Cherry: Shepherds Bush Empire, London
5th December 2016
Words: Mark Taylor, Pictures: Eric Duvet
It's been a hell of a busy year for Kentucky's finest, Black Stone Cherry. Celebrating their fifteenth anniversary with the 'Carnival Of Madness' arena tour last winter, a headlining slot at the sophomore Ramblin' Man Fair and now they're back again for these intimate theatre shows. With such a hectic diary in the UK this year, it's surprising that the band have found any time at all to be back at home.
But home is where the heart is as the foursome brought a taste of Kentucky to London in an evening that will be bragged about by fans for many years to come.
Billed as 'An Evening With Black Stone Cherry... Experience Kentucky', the show was split into two sets, firstly an acoustic set followed by an exhilarating electric set. It has to be said that if this was the Kentucky experience then on this evidence that's exactly where I'm moving to for my daily dose of rock'n'roll.
Black Stone Cherry were on jovial, confident and relaxed form for the acoustic set, sat on on stools with Persian rugs evenly placed out on the stage.
When I've seen similar shows in the past, the acoustic setting gives the chance for a band to let off steam by performing songs that inspired them but Black Stone Cherry stuck to their own catalogue, surprisingly, with some of their best tracks including 'Let It Roll' and the more recent 'The Rambler' which suits the acoustic style.
'Things My Father Said' is a real tear jerker for any grown man and Chris Robertson talks openly about his own dealings with depression and encourages anyone in a similar situation to openly talk about it before a sentimental 'All I'm Dreamin' Of'.
With a short break to get refreshed at the bar, the Empire was ready to rock and Black Stone Cherry shot from the hip, almost blowing off the newly restored roof.
The nimble Ben Wells bounced around like a grasshopper in a bush fire, Jon Lawhorn held his bass like a piercing lance, drummer John Fred Young bashed harder than Animal from The Muppets whilst Chris Robertson was the commandeer of both band and audience.
There was room for covers in the electric set with mind blowing versions of George Thorogood's 'Bad To The Bone', a snatch of Led Zep's 'Whole Lotta Love', the cool breeze of Willie Nixon's 'Built For Comfort' and even signing out with Hendrix's 'Voodoo Child'.
Robertson got the crowd in fine boisterous voice on 'Me And Mary Jane' while 'White Trash Millionaire' and 'Blame It On The Boom Boom' were met with roaring approval.
In fact every song was met with a fever breaching on hysteria. Black Stone Cherry totally smashed it and have earned the right to take a breather for a year or so and the boys from Kentucky also had every right to take their bow to the sound of Queen's 'We Are The Champions'... it was finger licking good.
In Our Dreams
Hell & High Water
Like I Roll
Things My Father Said
Big City Lights
All I'm Dreamin' Of
Bad To The Bone
Please Come In
White Trash Millionaire
Whole Lotta Love
Cheaper To Drink Alone
Me And Mary Jane
Built For Comfort
In My Blood
Shakin' My Cage
Blame It On The Boom Boom
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Outro: We Are The Champions