Black Stone Cherry - Experience Kentucky // Cardiff, November 19TH 2016

Being frequent visitors to these shores it may have seemed that Black Stone Cherry went a little stale with the arena tour back here in march, I think that may have been down to some of the arenas being played, Cardiff Motorpoint doesn't have the best sound and like other arenas can be pretty soulless .

BSC have thought outside the box for this Experience Kentucky tour and thankfully have picked smaller venues to showcase another side of the band.

 I wasn’t sure at first if a 45 minute acoustic set would work. The stage set out with three stools and an acoustic drum kit lit up by jars of fireflies certainly added to the ambience of the compact venue and made me feel like I was around a campfire singing songs with a lot of my friends.The band dressed casually in jeans and t shirts as if doing a soundcheck.Chris speaks candidly throughout the 45 minute set regarding their love for the UK and Cardiff ,andemotionally when introducing Things My Father Said, I along with many in the crowd felt an emotional connection and found myself wiping tears away, not often a song evokes me to having tears roll down my cheek,mainly down to Chris' delivery and passion for the subject of the song.

It wasn't all doom and gloom, Ben who has got to be one of the funniest guys around gives us little stories between songs and the camaraderie from the stage is evident .Big City Lights , a song often asked for is a surprise inclusion even though Chris jokes he struggles to sing it.

For 45 minutes every one in the crowd felt a part of the band , Black Stone Cherry are in their own words- opening up for themselves, it is the best support slot we could have asked for, and hearing stripped back versions of Hell or High Water, Like I Roll, and The Rambler was worth the ticket price alone, something special was happening in Cardiff tonight.

After a quick gear turnaround we were ready for the balls out full on electric BSC experience.The band reappeared decked out in stage clothing, gone is Chris' trucker cap to be replaced by a black fedora , looking all dark and broody from head to toe in black, almost looking like a movie villain. A new slimline look for a new version of BSC maybe, but the same belly of fire in his vocals. Ben and John change stage positions almost uncontrollably, where these guys get their energy from is beyond me but certainly infectious, raising the crowd constantly to new levels throughout the hour and a half set.

Devil Queen and soul machine lit the fuse tonight , setting the crowd up for an incendiary performance, and with the slower songs having been played in the acoustic set, the 15 songs played were the heavy shit that chris said they were. 

By the time that soul creek came around the majority of the crowd had risen from their seats,  clenched fists aloft and singing their hearts out and those that hadn’t were demanded by Chris to stand the fuck up.

White trash millionaire sends everyone into a frenzy, with that familiar talkbox of Bens' . 1500 fans waving arms side to side, front to back, the atmosphere was fizzing with electricity. Mary Jane , In My Blood and Blindman in succession just heightened the sensation and sent everyone over the edge ,  I myself had pretty much lost my voice at this point.

I haven't mentioned drummer John Fred Young until now due to the fact that he needs his own paragraph alone. a drum solo is usually the time to get a beer or use the toilet, I don't think one person missed this display of power and precision, I have 2 favourite drummers to watch, John Fred has his place in that two for me in rock drummers, visually exciting and absorbing in his technique. Not just through the solo but throughout the evening, I lost count of the broken sticks and snares he went through tonight such is the ferocity of the way he hits the skins.

Chris, seeing if the crowd were still with him tried to catch them out in a singing match, word of note Chris, this is Wales and we are known for our singing. No Cherry show would be complete without certain songs and that dirty sounding intro heralds Blame It On The Boom Boom, even Chris ballsing up the last chorus, didn’t distract from the enjoyment, even if his bandmates had a chuckle with him about it, he just started it again until he was happy with it.

All too soon , the two sets in all , over 2 and a quarter hours was coming to an end with Lonely Train and their homage to Lemmy with Ace Of Spades.

Chris, Ben, JohnFred and John had just played a special show in the welsh capital, the second time that they have started a UK tour in Cardiff. For me this was far more special than any of the arena tours they have done, it was more personal and more connected, everything a fan wants and more. While they were taking their bows a huge number of fans gathered at the front of the stage to shake their heroes hands , and my last look before walking out, Chris Roberston was still shaking hands!!

If you get a chance to see this tour, take it, sell your house, sell anything , hell, sell a kidney if you have to but get a ticket, experience a taste of Kentucky. Black Stone Cherry certainly belong playing in the big sheds, but a smaller venue like this is something that will be remembered for a long long time.

Acoustic Set. 1. In Our Dreams. 2. Hell and High Water. 3. Like I Roll. 4. Rambler. 5. Things My Father Said. 6. Stay . 7. Big City Lights. 8. Someday.

Electric Set.  1. Devils Queen. 2. Soul Machine. 3.Soul Creek. 4.Darkest Secret. 5.Killing Floor. 6. White Trash. 7.Cheaper To Drink Alone. 8. Mary Jane . 9.In My Blood. 10. Blindman. / Drum solo. / 11. Change. 12 . Shaking My Cage. 13. Blame It On The Boom Boom . 14.Lonely Train. 15. Ace Of Spades.

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY DARREN GRIFFITHS

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