Black Stone Cherry Live At Ramblin Man
Black Stone Cherry – Main Stage
The UK has always welcomed bands like Black Stone Cherry with open arms, taking them on as adopted musical sons and sending them ever higher up festival bills. Tonight they reach their first pinnacle by headlining Ramblin’ Man, and goodness me did they pull out all the stops in celebration. Taking to the stage to House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ (eh?) they waste no time in cranking up ‘Me and Mary Jane’ , which immediately showcases their signature slick, good time Southern rock sound that they do so well.
Every track is put together perfectly, as do the band members: they mesh together so well that there are no gaps, no weak spots, no fillers. Songs such as ‘Blind Man’, ‘Rain Wizard’ and ‘Built for Comfort’ are simply brilliant, while tracks from their new album Kentucky, such as ‘Soul Machine’, ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Cheaper to Drink Alone’ fit both comfortably and dynamically into their existing tracks.
Its not all just slick and well rehearsed: prior to ‘In My Blood’ frontman Chris Robertson reveals that he had battled some terrible demons a few years back, before declaring that “it’s ok to go to a doctor if you’re suffering from anxiety or depression”, to loud cheers, while ‘Things My Father Said’ is prefaced with a heartfelt chat, then Robertson brings The Kentucky Headhunters onstage and talks about the passing of one of the band members’ father. It’s a tearjerking, emotional performance that you would have to be pretty cold hearted not to be affected by.
That said, there’s also plenty of lighter moments, such as Robertson revealing that they’ve never played ‘Cheaper to Drink Alone’ live before and expressing the band’s nervousness (they nail it, by the way), and then there’s the frantic, ‘kid with a new toy’ performance – he must run ten miles by the time their set has finished.
They save some of their biggest hits to last, blasting out ‘White Trash Millionare’ and ‘Blame It On the Boom Boom’ pre and post encore, followed by an enforced a cappella version (technical issues) of ‘The Rambler’ – a nice touch – then ‘Lonely Train’ and a brisk version of ‘Ace of Spades’, which delights one and all. So, headlining a festival: done, and with panache. Next stop? Much like this festival itself, the sky is the limit for the UKs favourite Southern rock sons.
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