Shepherds Bush Empire 23rd November 2013
Black Star Riders are a welcome reminder that there are still bands out there playing good solid, melodic rock music. Described as "the next step in the evolution of the Thin Lizzy story" they are made up of the most recent Lizzy line up including the inimitable Scott Gorham. The main difference with BSR is that they have a slighter heavier attack, whilst still maintaining that classic Thin Lizzy sound. Choosing to release their début album under a different band name, All Hell Breaks Loose, produced by the legendary Kevin Shirley, was released earlier this year. It is clearly able to stand on its own away from Thin Lizzy and indeed create a new chapter for the band.
At their first ever London show, there is a real buzz surrounding their performance. The audience is largely made up of loyal Lizzy fans who have nothing but respect and appreciation for BSR and sing along to all the songs and cheer in all the right places. If you didn't know better you'd think that Black Star Riders had been together for years! They have some great tunes too, Hey Judas,Kingdom Of The Lost and of course the instant classic Bound For Glory.
Vocalist Ricky Warwick suits this heavier sound and looks every inch the rock star with sunglasses and cowboy hat. I feel he could be equally at home fronting any number of rock bands, a natural showman and able to hold his own and distance himself from the shadow of Phil Lynott. He manages to tackle the old Lizzy material such as Jailbreak, Whisky In The Jar and The Boys Are Back In Town with fervour and individuality making them more suited to the style of the Black Star Riders than outwardly trying to fill Lynott's shoes. Even though he is now the front man for BSR, with humility he honours Phil Lynott's memory which is sure to gain him some credentials with die hard Lizzy fans.
Scott Gorham really is the man of the hour and does not disappoint. His playing is still as fluid as ever and immediately recognisable. Even after years of touring with Thin Lizzy he seems to relish his new venture and seems totally at ease on stage. He does some great duel guitar work with Damon Johnson too and makes those classic Lizzy riffs really sing out. With the solid bass playing of Marco Mendoza and the forceful drumming of Jimmy Degrasso these guys pack a punch!
Black Star Riders are a worthy successor to Thin Lizzy's work, whilst leaving the legacy Phil Lynott created intact. With a second album already being planned and an existing fan base in place they can guarantee that they will continue to entertain their audience wherever they go. Hopefully they will pick up a few younger fans who weren’t lucky enough to see Thin Lizzy the first time round, along the way.
Supporting The Black Star Riders are The Dead Daises, although the name may not be familiar, the line us is. Founded by INXS singer Jon Stevens and former Red Phoenix guitarist David Lowy they are joined by Guns N Roses (and Thin Lizzy) guitarist Richard Fortus and his Guns N' Roses band mate Dizzy Reed (keyboards), Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Charley Drayton. What a line up and what a band! They have a great energy on stage and Stevens proves an effective front man once again. Their reinvention of classic rock sounds fresh and they have some great tunes too, which they play tonight including the single Lock N Load andMan Overboard. They end their set with an ace rendition of Helter Skelter which is sadly missing off their fantastic self titled début album.