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LIVE: BLACK STONE CHERRY – Perth, 24 April, 2017

| 28 April 2017 | Reply

LIVE: BLACK STONE CHERRY – Perth, 24 April, 2017
With Chase The Sun – Capitol, Perth
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Pete Gardner

One of the hardest working young bands in the world, Black Stone Cherry have only visited Perth once before, supporting comedy spandex rockers Steel Panther on their 2016 tour. Where that seemed to many an inappropriate pairing – few bands are as authentic and down to earth as these Kentucky lads – their first headlining show in our fair city was bound to be a big drawcard. Inexplicably, under 200 people attended the show. Granted, it was a Monday night, and the Monday before ANZAC Day holiday, to boot, so perhaps many had gone out of town for the weekend; and those who remained in town also had to choose between this show or Helmet playing down the road apiece.

Support band Chase The Sun delivered an entrancing set of lightly stoned rockin’ jams, their often-extended boogie meanderings hitting the right notes with the disappointingly sparse crowd, and resulting in an immediate queue at the merch desk to purchase their CD as soon as they left the stage.

Black Stone Cherry – confident, amiable, and bouncing with unbridled energy – launched straight into a heavy-as-you-like Devil’s Queen, then Soul Machine to open the show, with the sound proving a little problematic, the vocals up and down in the mix, and the guitar a little muddy.

The foursome peppered songs from their five albums with a handful of covers – George Thorogood’s Bad To The Bone, Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, Willie Dixon-by-way-of-Howlin Wolf’s Built For Comfort – but for a band who’ve successfully raunched and rocked up songs by Adele and Amy Winehouse in the past, these selections seemed a little too obvious. Something with a bit more local flavour – and not just the same AC/DC tracks every other touring band wheels out – would have been a more thoughtful inclusion.

That said, it was great to hear how strong the likes of Killing Floor, White Trash Millionaire, Cheaper To Drink Alone and Lonely Train stood up next to these bonafide rock classics.

The biggest roars of approval were reserved for the moving Things My Father Said and an acoustic The Rambler; the hard Southern rock of Me And Mary Jane; a stunning and emotional In My Blood; classic Blind Man and the good time groove of Blame It On The Boomboom, all delivered with passion and fervour, as frontman Chris Robertson holds down the centre of the stage, John Fred Young pounding on the drums like they’d hurt his loved ones, and impossibly thin spiky blonde guitarist Ben Wells and slick bassist Jon Lawhon killing it as they ran back and forth, swapping places endlessly, to the delight of the crowd.

Repeated cries for Backwoods Gold from their 2006 debut album do not fall on deaf ears, Robertson chuckling, “we haven’t done this one for ten years – so it’s your fault if we fuck it up!” They didn’t, naturally, and fans enjoyed the treat of hearing such a deep, rare cut.

This scorching show finished with a raucous cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Robertson soloing with his teeth, knocking off his pork pie hat to reveal the near-shaven head he’d been hiding under wraps all night, before all three guitar players hoist their instruments behind their head to play in unison for the songs climax.

The crowd may have been thin on the ground, but that only made for a more special experience for those who made the effort to attend: everyone had a little more room; access to the bar and toilets – usually terrible in this cramped venue – was easy and fast; and the band played as though they were headlining in front of an arena crowd, ensuring a performance that seemed so much more personal to everyone present.

Surely one of the best bands currently touring, this was a show bound to be remembered in awed tones by all present for years to come, and for those who opted not to come – sorry folks, you missed out on one of the gigs of the year.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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