At The O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., October 19, 2019

BLACK STAR RIDERS (Live at The O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., October 19, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

As one door closes another opens. With the departure last year of founder member Damon Johnson to explore a solo career while spending more time with his family, an opportunity arose to recruit Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and so begins a new chapter in the life of Black Star Riders.

With Wayward Sons having to cancel their support slot at the 11th hour due to singer, Toby Jepson’s illness, Stone Broken stepped up and delivered a hugely convincing set with Rich Moss’s powerful, gritty voice dominating. In Wait For You they have a stadium sized, lighter waver and the crowd responded accordingly. Stone Broken have come a long way in a short space of time and the future certainly looks a bright one for them.

Forged from the embers of the last touring version of Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders have over the course of four studio albums created a strong, powerful legacy in their own name. Sure, the spirit of Thin Lizzy runs right through the heart of the band but that’s no surprise seeing as though Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham co-founded the band with The Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick.

Previous tours have included several Lizzy songs but as each album has been released those have become less and less and now Warwick promised that this tour would be 100% Black Star Riders.

From the shorter, more direct The Killer Instinct, Finest Hour and set closer Bound For Glory or the bombastic chest thumping Celtic epics Kingdom of The Lost, All Hell Breaks Lose and Another State of Grace, the title track from their latest release, they have a formidable arsenal of songs to select from.

New boy Christian Martucci, playing only his ninth show with the band already locked tightly in with Gorham to deliver some of the band’s trademark guitar harmonies and has quickly forged a close, onstage rapport with Warwick. The band have chosen wisely.

While the show was certainly a high energy affair, there were some more mellow moments with Why Do You Love Your Guns and the classy Blindsided giving some moments of reflection.

Ricky Warwick was a commanding frontman and really connected with the crowd. When he reminisced about visiting record stores back in his youth, his story resonated with most people there taking them back to more simple times pre-Spotify and YouTube.

With a rich and varied set, that also included the heads down Rocker Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down and the spirited Soldierstown, the pace and energy of the show barely dipped and all based on their own songs. 2019 will be seen as the year that Black Star Riders finally emerged from the shadow of Thin Lizzy.

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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