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The Academy, Dublin
June 16th 2015

Brian Boyle

brian boyle

black stone cherry

Fresh from headlining the second stage at Download, Kentucky's finest made a swift return to the Emerald Isle following their sold out show last October.

Before Black Stone Cherry, warm up duties were given to The Fallen State, yet another in a long list of great young British rock bands currently on the scene today. At a first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were members of a Welsh vocal troupe, but as we all know appearances can be very deceptive, and in this case that statement was never truer.

Those not yet familiar with the band were taken completely by surprise when they launched into the stinging opening track 'Get Up'. Frontman Ben Stelling's boundless amounts of energy while maintaining a great vocal was hugely impressive. The youthful effervescence of their performance was exuberantly played out on slick melodic tunes like 'Burn It To The Ground' and set closer 'Hope In Revival'. Based on this form, these guys are well worth keeping your eye on.

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Having graduated to playing arenas in the UK, back across the pond in Dublin and bizarrely back home in the US, clubs and intimate theatres still remain Black Stone Cherry's live workplace. But the Edmonton boys are a genuine lot, when you hear them churn out the famous "we'll play anywhere because it's about the fans and the music" line, you tend to believe them.

When they opened tonight's gig with a roof lifting trio of 'Rain Wizard', 'Blind Man' followed by the smoking seduction of 'Me And Mary Jane', you could tell these guys were right in the mood.

Now that latest album 'Magic Mountain' has celebrated it's first birthday, the stellar tracks like 'Holding On... To Letting Go', 'Fiesta del Fuego' and the brain shaking 'Bad Luck And Hard Love' have clearly benefited from a year of road testing. These tracks were greeted like old classics by the hugely knowledgeable crowd, whose devotion to this band was displayed all evening.

For a venue with a capacity of just 700, BSC favourites like 'White Trash Millionaire' and thought provoking gems 'In My Blood' and 'Peace Is Free', were delivered with a full on stadium attitude. There are not many bands around today who give you ninety minutes straight out with as much incessant and unabated energy as these men.

Bassist Jon Lawhon and guitarist Ben Wells, who with his new haircut has completed his transformation as Bo Duke's doppelganger, traded stage positions all night as if trying to break the four minute mile. Bucket banger, John Fred Young, gave a mad drummer's master class, showing Bonham/Animal lunacy, while main man Chris Robertson, who looks like he'd happily fill you up in a near abandoned gas station on Route 66, sang and played his Paul Reed Smith like his life depended on it.

Apart from the warm beer on sale, the only real negative of the evening was the long drawn out version of the always lively 'Blame It On The Boom Boom', but that was soon forgotten when now traditional closers 'Lonely Train' followed by '30 Seconds Of Death Metal' sent their Dublin faithful home with jaw locking smiles.

Probably the highlight of the evening was seeing mothers, fathers, sons and daughters with ages ranging from 18 to 60 all decked out in their rock attire sporting t-shirts from Monsters Of Rock 84 to Muse fist pumping in unison. If you lean on the YES side in the whole "rock 'n roll is dead" debate, it's a crying shame you weren't there.

Black Stone Cherry Set list:
Rain Wizard
Blind Man
Me And Mary Jane
White Trash Millionaire
Holding On... To Letting Go
Maybe Someday
Such A Shame
In My Blood
Built For Comfort (Willie Dixon cover)
Fiesta del Fuego
Bad Luck & Hard Love
Drum Solo
Peace Is Free
Blame It On The Boom Boom
Lonely Train
30 Seconds Of Death Metal

The Fallen State Set list:
Get Up
Great Unknown
Son Of Avarice
Burn It To The Ground
Lost Cause
Hope In Revival

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