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Black Stone Cherry - Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff - October 28 2014 (Live Review)

Thursday, 30 October 2014 Written by Jon Stickler

Photos: Craig Thomas/Tallboy Images

Needless to say, the buzz around this Black Stone Cherry tour has gripped the UK’s rock fans since dates surfaced back in March, hot-on-the-heels of their sold-out Southern Hospitality run, which found them rocking venues half the size of those they’ve been packing out of late.

Toting a brand new album and hitting some of the biggest arenas the UK and Ireland has to offer, the Kentucky heavyweights seemed nicely poised to make the step up.

With special guests Airbourne and openers Theory Of A Deadman in tow, all amps were clicked to 11 for the tour's visit to Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena, with all three bands firing on all cylinders after stops in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow and Sheffield.

Canada's Theory Of A Deadman kick off proceedings, rumbling through cuts from their last four albums, including two newbies, opener Drown and the title track from their latest offering, 'Savages'. Despite being slightly hindered by the venue's PA, their 30-minute set roars to an end with Bad Girlfriend.

With the troops assembled, it’s time for Airbourne to explode onto the stage. Unleashing their 'Black Dog Barking' opener, Ready To Rock, the Aussie powerhouses kick off another hot-blooded set, drawing material from all three of their albums.

Too Much Too Young Too Fast, Chewin' The Fat, Girls In Black and Cheap Wine Cheaper Women open their eight song assault, while the title track from ‘Black Dog Barking’, Live It Up and Runnin' Wild, from their 2007 debut, keep the bodies flying through to the end.

It’s undeniably Airbourne. Beer is tossed into the crowd, frontman Joel O'Keeffe delivers his trademark guitar solo from the back of the venue - via a roadie piggyback ride on this occasion - and while it may not be everyone's cup of tea, they just smash it every time when it comes to entertainment value.

The main event sees Black Stone Cherry back at the Motorpoint for the first time since their co-headline appearance with Alter Bridge back in 2011. Returning with another arrow in the quiver, in the shape of their latest album 'Magic Mountain', Chris Robertson, Ben Wells, Jon Lawhon and John Fred Young appear to finally be reaping the rewards for years of hard work.

Getting underway with Rain Wizard, the four piece thunder straight into things from the moment the curtain drops, oozing confidence and playing to an army of fans. They rip into the anthemic Blind Man before rolling out the first cut of the night from their latest full length, Me And Mary Jane, followed by Holding On... To Letting Go, Maybe Someday and Such A Shame. Here is a band that know how good they are.

Each song tonight is met by passionate roars from the crowd and even the slower numbers - In My Blood, Things My Father Said and Like I Roll - maintain the buzz. There's no sense of switching off and the singalongs are unlike anything seen ‘round these parts for a while.

Concluding the main set with Soul Creek, White Trash Millionaire and the love-it-or-hate-it Blame It On The Boom Boom, they wrangle the crowd for a final fist pump before re-emerging to close with Peace Is Free and their explosive Lonely Train.

Black Stone Cherry have grown up in public in recent years, from the club circuit to festivals and now arena headline slots, and their no frills rock ‘n' roll has soundtracked the lives of a new generation of rock fans while refreshing the record shelves of those who savoured the Jacksonville tones of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot back in the day. It comes as no surprise to see these southern rockers now swinging in the big leagues.

Head here for a full gallery courtesy of Tallboy Images.

Black Stone Cherry Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu October 30 2014 - BIRMINGHAM LG Arena
Fri October 31 2014 - MANCHESTER Phones 4u Arena
Sat November 01 2014 - LONDON SSE Arena Wembley

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