I had to be quick and I had to be on time as the tickets were all going to go in the blink of an eye. I didn’t think I’d manage it but I did, two tickets for myself and fellow PlanetMosh writer Alex English, and I know many who didn’t get one so I appreciate how lucky I am.
The tickets are for our favourite Kentucky gentlemen, Black Stone Cherry, who released their eighth studio album, Screamin’ At The Sky, on 29th September featuring their new bassist Steve Jewell Jnr. and are undertaking a short club tour to celebrate it. The band stated “we love the opportunity to step on to any stage, and these shows will certainly be ones to remember. Up-close. Personal. Old school. We absolutely cannot freakin’ wait!”
And on the day we arrive fashionably late to an absolutely rammed Rebellion Bar in Manchester, being in a tin of sardines would have been more comfortable. Fortunately there is space by the bar at the back and the time passes quickly as we wait for the band. There are regular singalongs from the crowd to the likes of Tenacious D are played from the PA, even the lighting engineer got in on the act flashing stage lights in time. The band has even produced a limited number of t-shirts specifically for each show but predictably they had all sold out much earlier – a nice touch though.
With no support the band hit the stage to Sabotage by the Beastie Boys at 8:30pm and a massive roar from such a small crowd… I can feel this is going to be a very special event. Opening with the title track from the new album is a surprise but it sounds so familiar and everyone is grooving along, grooving that doesn’t stop for the whole set.
Banger after banger flow from the stage covering their whole career as the band want to make this very special for all their fans with their between song banter showing how humbled they were to be playing here and reminiscing about their previous shows at various venues in Manchester since their first UK visit in 2007; these guys are on the ball.
White Trash Millionaire and Me and Mary Jane make an early appearance and the crowd are as fully engaged as the band. The sweat is pouring off of the band, and the audience, and we are only four songs in – will they survive in this heat?
Throughout their performance new bassist Steve Jewell Jnr and guitarist Ben Wells swap places, running and jumping around the small stage whilst guitarist and lead singer Chris Robertson remains more sedate, yet his vocal prowess is incredible – distinctive and powerful – throughout their set.
For me the highlight is the ridiculously catchy Blame It On The Boom Boom but every song they play is top notch. The end comes far too soon with Lonely Train, a headbanging classic with a groove so heavy it could flatten Piccadilly Station.
The encore is more subdued, The Rambler and Peace Is Free provide calmer moments and I am sure most here are appreciating it. And that’s our lot. The 100 minutes flew by and this has been an incredible, ear-ringing, sweaty experience with clothes that became stuck to us and feet that are aching from dancing to the band’s guitar driven grooves. I am so impressed I will definitely be there the next time they tour as I am sure everyone else will be that witnessed Black Stone Cherry this evening.
- Screamin’ at the Sky
- Blind Man
- White Trash Millionaire
- Stir It Up (cover)
- Me and May Jane
- Rain Wizard
- Hell and High Water
- Like I Roll
- Cheaper to Drink Alone (inc drum solo)
- In My Blood / Whitehouse Road
- Out of Pocket
- Shooting Star
- Blame It On The Boom Boom
- Lonely Train
19. The Rambler
20. Peace Is Free