In recent years Black Stone Cherry have been going from strength to strength and these days are headlining arena tours. A Black Stone Cherry gig is always something to look forward to, but on this tour the support makes it even more of an event. Opening the shows is Monster Truck, who have toured supporting bands including Nickelback. Following them is The Cadillac Three, a band I’ve seen quite a few times over the past few years as they tour hard building their fanbase here in the UK.
First up was Monster Truck. These Canadians really are a great opening act – they play loud, fun and heavy rock and roll and really know how to wake a crowd up. With their latest album “True rockers” having been released in September it’s no surprise that they open the set with a song from that album – the track, “True rocker”. We get a couple more songs from the album during the set (“Evolution” and “Devil don’t care”). The set tonight is actually split fairly evenly across their three albums, and the band have chosen well as they go down very well with the crowd tonight.
Next up is The Cadillac Three. Hailing from Nashville they’re a band with a healthy dose of country infused into their sound, makign them more Country rock than Southern rock, although they certainly appeal to fans of Southern Rock too. A three-piece band, they’ve got the usual drummer and guitarist/singer, but rather than rounding that off with a bassist, the third member plays pedal steel – a guitar that’s more like a keyboard in appearance as it’s laid flat and there are pedals, but it’s got a very different sound to any keyboard, and it’s use definitely helps give that Country flavour to the music.
They’ve got plenty of fans here tonight as is obvious from the number of their Tshirts being worn so it’s no surprise that they go down extremely well. I’ve been a fan for a few years and am used to seeing them in smaller venues but they’re just as happy and good on a big stage in an arena as they are in a small club. A great set.
Finally it’s time for Black Stone Cherry. With the video screens behind them and some CO2 cannons they’ve added to their usual show, but it’s not a case of style over substance – this is just a little extra for the fans. The main thing is their music and performance and that’s an area in which Black Stone Cherry excel. As always, guitarist Ben Wells acts like the cartoon Tasmanian devil – he runs, jumps, spins and is generally a blur of activity. Chris Robertson is more static as he’s singing as well as playing so needs to be at the microhpone, but when he’s not singing he does move around. Jon Lawhorn on bass moves around a fair amount, and it’s only next to Ben Wells that he seems less active.
With 19 songs plus an encore it’s a good long set and it’s packed with great songs – early on “Rain wizard” is a personal favourite, and with songs like “Things my father said”, “White trash milionaire” and “Blame it on the boom boom” then there’s plenty to enjoy in their set.
It’s great to see the band having a great time on stage – lots of smiles and generally showing how much they love playing live. It’s a good job they do as with a great catalogue of songs they’re only going to grow in popularity – I can certainly envisage them headlining Download festival in a few years at this rate.
Tonight really was a fantastic night – three great bands on one bill and at a reasonable ticket price too. Christmas came early for fans tonight.