Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blackberry Smoke- 02 Academy, Islington, London March 3rd, 2014

It has been 5 years since Sue and I saw are current favourite Southern Rock band, Blackberry Smoke. The gig has been sold out, actually, the bands entire UK tour sold out. Some friends of BBS, Cadillac 3, who happen to be in town playing opened the show with a short like 25min set. They were an interesting 3 piece of drums, guitar (who did the lead vocals), and pedal steel, who also did a lot of singing. Sadly, the pedal steel was mixed way too low in the mix and you only herad him in the more quiet sections, which were few as this was big heavy southern riffs, almost like a stoner southern blues with no solos. They played Tennesse Mojo and their new single, which is not out yet called South but I don’t remember the title of the other three short songs.

Million Dollar Reload
After a 20min break, Million Dollar Reload, I think they were called hit the stage. They clearly had some fans in the area where we were standing but they were really average. A bit of AC/DC, Guns and Roses and 80’s rock and roll, ala Hanoi Rocks but we had heard it all before. Good energy and average sing along rock songs. I was pretty bored and just wanted to see BBS like everyone else.

I had seen the set they were playing on this tour and it was really heavy on the Whippoorwheel, which was only just released in the UK and Europe on Earache records, despite having been out like 1½ years in the USA. Anyway, they opened with the hard rocking, Leave a Scar and into Like I Am from the bands little Piece of Dixie record. Turns out they would only play tracks from these two records with nothing from their debut or the more country, Honky Tonk Ep. The set went by pretty fast as the songs are played very tight and exactly like on the record except for Sleeping Dogs, where they have a bit of fun with a jam in the middle with a bit of Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers and back into the song but even this is done with picture perfection as they do it like this every night for the last many years. People really got into Up in Smoke, which would have been a perfect one for them to jam out and one of the few where Paul gets to do a guitar solo but they kept it short. I really wish they would jam it out a bit more. The bass player and drummer looked like they could have fallen asleep during the set a few times, while Charlie and Paul were clearly having a ball playing. I shouted out Train Rollin (a song from the first album) but Charlie said that was a Deep Cut and they could not play it because Paul could not remember the words! The first encore was a brand new song, called Livin in the Song, and it was a quite a short commercial track. I did not particularly like it but you know their songs grow on you… They were pressed for time so a quick version of Shake your Magnolia and they were out the door in about a 95min set.  Fun show for sure…

Set List: Leave a Scar, Like I am, Six Ways to Sunday, Good One Comin’ On, Pretty Little Lie, Crimson Moon, Sleeping Dogs, She’s Mine, Whippoorwheel, Holy Ghost, Up in Smoke, Ain’t got the blues, Freeborn Man, Restless, One Horse Town, Ain’t much Left of Me, Livin in a Song, Shake your Magnolia

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