Kerrang! (UK) - - Lives -

■ TONIGHT, BLACK Stone Cherry per­form to al­most 1,000 more peo­ple than ac­tu­ally live in their hometown of Edmonton, Ken­tucky (pop­u­la­tion 1,582 as of the cen­sus of 2000 – it was 1,586 be­fore the band got fa­mous). Given their closeknit back­ground, it’s not sur­pris­ing that prin­ci­ples of loy­alty, fam­ily and hold­ing out for bet­ter days un­der­pin their mu­sic, and tonight this man­i­festo is driven home beau­ti­fully.

But be­fore the South­ern-tinged guitars and chestswelling vo­cals com­mence, there’s the small mat­ter of the sup­port band.and tonight it’s… also Black Stone Cherry. Choos­ing to open for them­selves with an acous­tic set is a neat way of ex­plor­ing the band’s more emo­tional side, which also gives front­man Chris Robertson a chance to in­vite peo­ple into his band’s world, openly ask­ing them to ex­pe­ri­ence the same feel­ings that in­spired Things My Fa­ther Said and The Ram­bler.we’ve only had glimpses of this side of him pre­vi­ously, and stripped bare of elec­tric en­hance­ment it’s im­pos­si­ble to over­look its qual­ity.

When the heavy set does start, it’s re­ally heavy. Opener Devil’s Queen sets the pace, and it’s one the band main­tain for al­most all of what fol­lows. Gui­tarist Ben Wells must cover the equiv­a­lent of a half-marathon on­stage – a tiny, open-mouthed blonde blur of en­thu­si­asm. there’ s plenty of fun from the band’s ex­tro­vert drum­mer John Fredy­oung, one point, mid-song, he hurls a stick all the way into the hands of some­one on the balcony, while else­where, a stick is launched ver­ti­cally and mys­te­ri­ously doesn’t re­turn, leav­ing him to com­plete Cheaper To Drink Alone with his fists.

Af­ter ‘shakin’ cages’, blam­ing things on the ‘boom boom’ and rid­ing a Lonely Train, Black Stone Cherry de­part with a mus­cu­lar cover of Hen­drix’svoodoo Child. It’s an aptly clas­sic end and, next time, they may have to do four sets to bet­ter this.

“Hi, Not­ting­ham Se­cret Agents? Yeah, we found the guy who stole your hats…”

Two mem­bers of BSC didn’t get the memo about the acous­tic set

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