Tonight The Royal Albert Hall plays host to a special double bill of Anglo-American blues-rock, and with fans snaking around the corner to line up for merchandise, it has all the makings of a night to remember.
Black Stone Cherry/Kris Barras Band
Words: Kahmel Farahani
Photography: Ben Gibson
Holding up the British end, the night starts with rising blues guitarist Kris Barras and his tight four-piece band taking the stage. They are clearly thrilled to be back in their natural habitat, laying into upbeat rockers like Dead Horses and Ignite (Light It Up) with real gusto.
“With nothing to do for the last 18 months, we’ve written a new album,” says frontman Kris to a delighted crowd before jumping into what promises to be their next single. My Parade is a solid anthemic rocker that fits well with what fans have come to expect from the band. A rather speedy cover of the blues classic Going Down is followed by another new song, These Voices. Ending with a sing-along to the band’s successful single Hail Mary, they wrap up a tight set and indeed a special tour in style.
As the lights go down and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody echos around the hall, the stage is set for Kentucky’s finest sons to make their long-awaited return to the London Stage. They kick right into a blistering Me and Mary Jane. The energy levels are kept high throughout, with guitarist Ben Wells jumping around the stage while drummer John Fred Young attempts to send his drum kit through the floor throughout the night.
“Is this real life, or is this just fantasy London?” asks a delighted Ben Wells. “I find myself absolutely speechless. We’re gonna bring the good vibes from Kentucky because that’s how we roll”. Like I Roll is followed by a stomping run-through of Cheaper To Drink Alone.
“We’ve been waiting to play this place for 14 years,” Says frontman Chris Robertson before bursting into old-school track Hell And High Water. A touching Things My Father Said is dedicated to Chris’s late father, with phone lights and lighters held aloft throughout the Albert Hall.
While they only play three songs from their last album, The Human Condition, In Love With The Pain is a highlight and one that gets the crowd singing along before the big guns of Blame It On The Boom Boom and White Trash Millionaire bring the house down.
Black Stone Cherry ends their main set with a roaring run through of riff-heavy Lonely Train before the band returns for their customary encore, Peace Is Free.
The band had to delay tonight’s show for almost two years due to COVID-19, so it gained an extra poignancy.
With the entire concert being filmed for DVD, Black Stone Cherry fans everywhere will be able to experience and relive this superb night.