Live : BLACK STONE CHERRY – Cork (2015) Posted: 02/07/2015 by John O'Brien
On the 15th of June at the Pavilion in Cork City BLACK STONE CHERRY with special guests, THE FALLEN STATE played an absolutely amazing show. Now I know some might think about the Pav and say that it’s too small to host this kind of gig, but to tell you the truth it was the perfect setting to host such a hard rocking event. It created a close up, intimate setting; it was like you were on stage with the band playing along with them. I’ve been to gigs in stadiums holding twelve thousand people and to intimate venues holding only one hundred, and the small ones always make for some of the best. This night was no different and it’s one that won’t be forgotten by anyone that was present.
I’ll admit that before this gig, I hadn’t heard of THE FALLEN STATE, and many others were probably in the same boat. That has all changed since then because they put on an amazing performance. Being the opening act is no easy task, but the five guys from the UK did an awesome job at warming up the crowd and getting us in the mood for some rock n’ roll. One of the best songs from their set was ‘Get Up’. This songs rocking, anthem like chorus got the crowd pumped and really began to break the ice for the rest of their set. Lead guitarist Jon Price dished out some amazing solos and licks while rhythm guitarist Dan Oke killed it with rocking riffs and chord progressions. Bass guitarist Greg Butler and drummer Rich Walker in the rhythm section keeping a steady beat and giving the whole band a base. Lead vocalist and front man Ben Stenning was out in front getting the crowd involved and his interactions with the audience made it all the more exciting. They were by far one of the best opening bands I have ever seen and these guys have a big future ahead of them.
Once THE FALLEN STATE had finished, the entire place was eager for more and just waiting for BLACK STONE CHERRY to come on stage. After a quick sound check by the BSC crew, the lights went down and dark silhouettes moved around on stage. The crowd began to cheer and the atmosphere was electrifying. Suddenly through the amps and PA system came the thundering sound of one of BSC’s signature songs ‘Rain Wizard’. The crowd sang along to every word from the top. Every song they played just left the crowd wanting more. They played all their fan favourites including ‘Blind Man’, ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘In My Blood’. One the best performances was ‘Me and Mary Jane’ from their new album, “Magic Mountain”. The whole crowd sang along to the chorus as they played it three times. “Me and Mary Jane got a thing goin’ on, goin’ on” was being roared from the rooftops.
Another aspect of the show that was one I hadn’t seen before and definitely surprised and put the crowd in a trance was when everyone but the drummer walked off stage. Which led to what can only be described as an epic drum solo. John Fred Young was the hardest workingman on stage for the gig, pulling out all the stops especially for his solo. After about three minutes he threw his sticks aside and instead starting beating the drums with his hands. One of them even fell over but luckily the drum tech was on hand to help out. After his solo he got a well-deserved break when lead vocalist/guitarist Chris Robertson and rhythm guitarist Ben Wells walked back on stage. They decided to slow things down, performing an amazing rendition of ‘Peace Is Free’. It was an outstanding part of the gig and it left the crowd in awe. They were then rejoined by Young and bassist Jon Lawhon to conclud the track with the crowd singing along to the chorus.
The band interacted with the crowd throughout the entire show, as Wells and Lawhon spent the entire night running back and forth and coming within arms reach of the front row. They were handing and throwing guitar picks and giving fist bumps to all the fans that were jumping and roaring with the excitement of the music and the atmosphere. They finished their set with the most well known BSC track, everyone knows it, and that is ‘Lonely Train’. It’s thumping riff and booming drums made the perfect ending to an absolutely amazing show. The entire place erupted with energy like none other. After BSC left the stage it was followed by five minutes of roaring and the crowd shouting for “one more tune”. If that didn’t prove how amazing it was, nothing will.
I can’t begin to describe fully how enjoyable this gig was. I it was unlike any I had been to before. Just BSC’s presence was enough to get the crowd fired up and their performance left everyone gob smacked. Without any doubt this concert gets a full five out of five stars, it was superb. Both bands made it into one of the most memorable events of the year. They’re even better live than on record so if you ever get the chance to see them on stage… take it!
Review by Mark Aherne
Fan account by IMA ticket competition winner Mike Kingston…
The recently reopened “Pavillion” was jam packed with long hair and leather as fans of the southern rockers BLACK STONE CHERRY occupied the Corkonian landmark on the 15th of June in a stunning display of a live and kicking metal community in Ireland. The stage was (as expected) decked out in pure American rock format, fat custom stacks, classic guitars complimented by double bass drums to give it some kick.
With the classic EP “Rain Wizard”, BLACK STONE CHERRY hit the stage. Backed by a light show featuring every colour and angle of the rainbow as visible to the human eye across section of generations framed the stage brandishing band memorabilia and filling the air with devil horns as the show began. The band brought a distinctly full on American show with every bell and whistle attached as Ben Wells and Jon Lawhon ran around that stage like they were doing 100 meters sprint, as is the way of the rock. The performances were well crafted, as to be expected from years of gigging with an almost entirely smooth performance. Bar the odd drum equipment malfunction, which is understandable considering at one point in the show John Fred Young (the Looney) blasts into a kick ass drum solo where he fucks away the sticks and starts punching the shit out of his own drum kit with his bare hands, following in assault charges being brought against John by the Kit, settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. A true spectacle rarely seen at live shows, a mini moment in the greater history of music in Cork. I have to tip my metaphorical cap (as I am currently hatless) to the men behind the stage, any drum adjustment or freshly tuned guitar was always addressed with that typical rodey speed of lightning.
The bands crowd interaction consisted of your typical “great to be here” ”we have been playing this song since ” etc. The American enthusiasm flying 90. My favourite quote of the night however, was from a particular mention that Ireland was a way better gig town than England, resulting in the stereotypically Irish drunken war cheer (of course). Topping the night off with the almighty “Lonely Train” the house went into action, seriously damaging some necks and mildly sprained a few others. Entertaining the loyal fans for almost 3 hours they had to bring things to a close at that also stereotypically Irish time of twelve O clock. Leaving time for, “No more tunes” replaced instead with a lovely speech from the guitarist Ben Wells about how we were all great at being an audience (drinking and shouting moistly) during the show and they can’t wait to be back in Ireland. In reference to that … all I can say to you Ben Wells is. “Nodda bodder kid” Thanks for the show, Black Stone Cherry hope to see ya again sometime.
G’luck from Cork!