All Photos: Julius Richardson
Words: Shadow Editor
It’s been 17 years since these Kentucky Hard Rockers surfaced onto the Rock scene and have been bringing their own flavor of ” Southern American Rock ‘N Roll” to the world. With countless international tours, and now on the cusp of their sixth studio album Family Tree released via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group on April 20th, the band hit the road on their North America leg of their Tour, cruising and blue-sing across a myriad of cities and we we’re fortunate enough to catch them on the Huntsville date.
Now I know what you are thinking, Huntsville, Alabama? Yes we have Rock concerts occasionally here, no is not a cornucopia of Rock gigs, but neither is the US for that matter. In fact Black Stone Cherry has proven to be pretty successful overseas, especially in the UK, where a few of their albums have hit “Silver” status, and in other parts of the world for that matter.
Regardless of the fact, here we are on a Tuesday night, a small venue in Huntsville, Sidetracks Music Hall, that has been bringing in a few rock acts to town the last couple years, and no is not the best locale for photos, small, hot as hell for sure with a few hundred folks inside all eager to see this great band in such an intimate venue. Who wouldn’t want that?
Before we get to the main attraction, BSC brought with them little known to my knowledge, Southern California’s The Underground Thieves. I have to say didn’t really know what to expect from these guys, but first thing that caught my eye is the amount of people in the band. I believe they had 9 members on stage, with multiple vocalists playing their part. Cool band that I like you to check out and I like to hear more from in the future. Their lead man/guitar player Nick Perri did well for himself, and I enjoyed the contributions from the other vocalists in the band as well. The guys have 5 singles out on Spotify here, do yourself a favor and check them out, put the word out they have some talent and deserve to be heard. Very cool of BSC to bring them along on tour.
A few minutes pass between opening band wrap up, crew and setup completes. Black Stone Cherry hits the small stage at Sidetracks with a thundering roar from the small Tuesday work grinding after hours crowd. They kick things off with “Dancing In The Rain” off their newest offering “Family Tree”. Some bands can do covers, some can’t. BSC certainly can, as they launch into “Hey Joe” followed by “Cheaper to Drink”, for some need not be reminded of their hilarious video for this song of their “Kentucky” record, here is that for your viewing pleasure.
The guys have been mixing their setlists every night, something that plays very well with the fan base here in town. A new selection comes via “Like I Roll”, from their very well received “Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea “.
One of the best cuts of the night comes via “Southern Fried Friday Nights”, the infectious southern twang energy, revitalizes this Tuesday’s nights crowd with a much needed bang. “Bad Habit” and “Come Hell or High Water” keep the night young and trucking forward as the guys deliver with more punch and obvious chemistry. Some other notables from the night serve themselves with “Boom Boom” and “Lonely Train” as they close out the night with “Family Tree’
The band itself is tight as ever, front man Chris Robertson has the vocals and the smooth guitar licks to entice, there is just something about Southern Hard Rock that no matter which way you spin it, this modern and meaty blues-based rock will never die and this band is proof of it. Is in their blood, is who they are.
Guitarists Ben Wells kicks around and has a terrific stage presence, the cool cat in the hat, bassist Jon Lawhon delivers some smooth bass lines all night, toppled by the beast behind the kit, drummer John Fred Young who was pounding the be-jesus out out of the kit all night. Very underrated drummer in my ears, and I’m not just stating this mere fact, as my ears we’re punished severely after that night. All worth it for a truly terrific night of Southern Hard Rock, up close and personal.
Before we wrap this one kids, I like to take some time to challenge the city of Huntsville and their Rock fans. Yes I know we are the rocket city, we have some of the brightest minds in the country, a city that’s booming in the technology sector but it’s not known for bringing many great live Rock acts to town. I will admit I was a little let down in the turn out, I know it was a Tuesday night, a work night I get it, but I feel that in order for more bands to come to this great city and other venues bring in bigger acts, we have to support the music in a larger scale, we have to get out to the shows.
Rock is not remotely close to being dead, nor will it ever, is at times like these when we have some many social issues affecting our great country, that music can truly be a healer and bring people together and just have a damn good time. Keep supporting the music, the bands, the passion, regardless of the size of city.