At The Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, U.K., December 7, 2018

BLACK STONE CHERRY (Live at The Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, U.K., December 7, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

With Lynyrd Skynyrd’s impending retirement the throne of Southern Rock royalty will be open to all comers and only a fool would bet against Black Stone Cherry grabbing the crown with both hands and few deserve it more.

Joining them on this tour were fellow Southern Rockers The Cadillac Three and Canadian heavy weights, Monster Truck making this one tasty bill.

Monster by name, monster by nature, Monster Truck certainly lived up to their name with their bulldozing riffs, heavy grooves and powerhouse vocals of Jon Harvey all underpinned by a gritty layer of Brandon Bliss’s Hammond organ. True Rocker, The Lion and a thunderous Sweet Mountain River set the night off to one explosive start and received a reception usually reserved for the headliner.

Next up were The Cadillac Three with their potent blend of Bluegrass, Country and Hard Rock, who managed to whip up a veritable storm with the likes of Tennessee Mojo and The South nailing their lapsteel powered Redneck Rock ‘n’ Roll heritage firmly to the mast. The Cadillac Three were sensational.

Twelve years and six albums into their career that has seen them rise from small clubs to headlining arenas, Black Stone Cherry are reaping the rewards of hard graft, endless touring and a dedication that comes from a tough but close family upbringing in Kentucky.

With a fair few albums under their belts, Black Stone Cherry have the luxury of picking a setlist covering everything from their debut album right up to their current Family Tree album and it was from that very record that they opened the set with Burnin’ before a double whammy of classics in the shape of Me and Mary Jane and the riff heavy Rain Wizard struck home.

New songs Bad Habit and the groovy Funk of James Brown slipped seamlessly alongside the older Blind Man and Lonely Train showing that the creativity levels are still running high as Chris Robertson’s gritty, powerful holler took control centre stage.

Guitarist Ben Wells and bassist John Lawhon were never still for a moment. It was exhausting watching them criss crossing the stage and jumping on and off the drum riser at every opportunity. Drummer John Fred Young was the human octopus and so flamboyant, gives even Keith Moon a run for his money. Seeing him play the harmonica while drumming during I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man was worth the price of admission alone.

Blame It On The Boom Boom and White Trash Millionaire brought in the big hitters and when someone in the crowd proclaimed every song was a show stopper, it was hard to argue with them.

Black Stone Cherry put in a performance and spectacle befitting of the heirs apparent of the Southern Rock crown.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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.

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