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BlackRain – Rebellion Manchester 18/3/2016

The night was opened by support band Damn Dice, a 5-piece outfit based in London, to a woefully small crowd. After a short intro they went into their first song – I didn’t catch the title but it was quite fast with good harmony vocals and reminded me a bit of Swedish band H.E.A.T. The second song sounded much like the first, and it wasnt until the third song “Down” that really got things going, this stood out for me as a much better track.

“What Now” came next, as taken from their recently released debut album “The Great Unknown”.

This band have good stage presence, there is lots of movement and headbanging, and a fair amount of jumping and bouncing too! They remind me of the Ramones in looks and attitude, although their songs are a little more complex. It seems to be de rigeur this year or young bands to chuck in a tribute to Lemmy and Damn Dice were no exception, ripping through a decent cover of “Ace of Spades” and getting the (still very small) crowd well onside. I liked the next song a lot (although I’m not sure what it was called – bad reporter) as it had lots of woah-woah-ing and a fair few hey-hey-heys swirling around. This band are quite promising, their songs are not too derivative although the penultimate one “Take The Fight” did have a touch of Kiss’s “Heavens On Fire” about it. Last song “No Fear” was a sort of commercial Sabbath sound, unusual and not bad at all.

They have a Facebook page: Facebook/DamnDice

Website is here: www.damndice.com/

Now I have to say that hard rock is not usually the first thing that my mind associates with France, however French band BlackRain have been around for about a decade but somehow have managed to escape my notice until fairly recently. They have 3 previous albums available (which I left the venue owning!) and their latest, the result of a pledge campaign, is due to go on general release next week and will be reviewed in these hallowed pages shortly.

BlackRain start their set with a backs-to-the-audience hand-on-heart intro of a French song that isn’t the national anthem but did involve the word “Liberte!” being repeated several times, and then BANG straight into their first song “Back In Town”.  This is a sleazy, fun romp of a song with a catchy chorus with a very 80s LA feel to it. Their next song had a riff that reminded me of It’s Raining Men (!) and showcased singer Swan’s rather amazing vocal range as well as some great harmonies from the rest of the band. The guitars soared and there was a nice solo.

This band have written some excellent fist-pumping singalong anthems and “Rock & Roll Is Dead Long Live Rock & Roll” , while being a bit of a bugger to say or indeed type, is one of the best. It’s one of those songs that you just can’t help dancing to. “Mind Control” is a song from the new album and starts with an AC/DC-ish rif that then goes into a lovely bouncy beat that had my toes tapping and hands clapping almost of their own accord. Older songs “Innocent Rosie” and “Mess Me Up” return to the sleazier side of things, whilst still keeping that toe-tapping beat going. More fistpumping followed in “Dead Boy”, and then another from the new album “Jenny Jen” (written for a fan who pledged for it) which was a glam-tastic catchy song that put me in mind of The Sweet. My personal favourite song “NASTY” came next, this one is a sing-and-spell-along that you just can’t keep still too. Even the Grumpy Husband got up and moved a bit to this one……

A couple of songs whose titles I didn’t catch (should have got a setlist, bad reporter!) followed, both with a down n dirty sound that made me smile. I also noted that Swan was smiling too – far too smiley for his verging-on-goth look in fact. One of them put me in mind of Andrew WK’s Party Hard, and involved the band’s name in the chorus. Another new song “Rock My Funeral” was followed by a rousing version of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” which saw the support band on stage for a shoutalong chorus.

So in summary this was an excellent night of entertainment. Try to picture a band that looks like they have come (staggered?) out of the 80s LA scene but sound like Rose Tattoo and that’s what you get with BlackRain. Good points – big riffs, big choruses and a really good time. Bad points – it was sometimes a bit flat between songs, a little more banter and interaction with the audience would have been good but the very small crowd may have played a part in this.

Band members are Swan (vocals, guitar), Max (lead guitar), Matthieu (bass) and Frank (drums) and they too have a facebook page if you need to know more:

facebook.com/BlackRainRock

and website www.blackrain.fr/

About Jo Crosby

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