At O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., April 4, 2017

BLACKBERRY SMOKE (Live at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., April 4, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Coming across as a youthful Faces crossed with The Ramones, blasting out the finest combination of T-Rex, Sweet and Mott The Hoople, drenched in prime time mid ’70s era KISS, The Biters may have been nothing more than a wistful dream in their parents mind back then but they have managed to capture the spirit of those times with such authenticity and passion you can actually think it’s 1975 all over again.

Frontman Tuk, with chiselled cheekbones and feather cut hair could quite easily have gazed out from the front cover of Jackie magazine while sky-scraping anthems of rebellion, drinking, girls and parties all fist pumping, chest beating riffs and jungle drumming would have been a staple of Thursday evening television across the land.Hallucination Generation, Heart Fulla Rock ‘n’ Roll and their very own tribute to their favourite year, 1975, cut a cocky intoxicating swagger of loud, proud Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Blackberry Smoke have been around the block a few times playing just about every two bit dive that would have them honing their craft along the way. Touring with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top have taught them a thing or two about life on the road and those lessons have certainly come to fruition over the last few years as their stature has grown tenfold since their first tentative steps onto these shores from their home town of Atlanta, Georgia.

With tales of families bonded by hardship and tough working class upbringings Blackberry Smoke fly the flag for blue collar rock with songs like One Horse Town just as relevant in the North of England as in Southern states of America. Frontman and guitarist Charlie Starr possesses a suitably bourbon soaked, gravel hewn voice that tell those stories with a genuine authenticity missing from many of the bands around these days.

Ain’t Got The Blues heads to the swamps of the Mississippi Delta while Six Ways to Sunday, all Honky Tonk piano, bristles with energy whereas the irresistible shuffle of Let It Burn and the Aerosmith driven dirt of Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost not to mention the insanely catchy Rock and Roll Again show a multi-faceted side to the bearded Rockers that kept the show varied and dynamic.

Southern Rock’s bloodline has a long and celebrated history dating back from when The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd blended Blues and Country with Hard Rock to give a music form so unique that as soon as you hear it you immediately associate it with the dusty porches and back yards of the deepest South of America.With the likes of Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and Raging Slab carrying on the fine traditions of the originators along with the Black Crowes and more recently Black Stone Cherry, Blackberry Smoke can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder as they carry their legacy on into the future. Premier league Southern Rock for the 21st century.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.