Black Stone Cherry + Stone Gods + Sevendust @ Birmingham Academy – 10th December 2008


Kentucky four-piece Black Stone Cherry have been on quite a journey since the release of their debut album in 2007; going from small clubs to headlining a near sold-out Academy in the space of a couple of UK tours is one hell of an achievement. Throw into that mix a stonking second album — ‘Folklore and Superstition’ — and you start to understand why there is so much demand for these young rockers right now.

On paper, having Sevendust open this show seems like a strange choice given their more nu-metal orientated sound, but they put on a great performance and get a very surprising but very well deserved reception from the already massive crowd. Guest vocals from BSC frontman Chris Robertson did them no harm whatsoever either.


Second, yet another Brum gig for Stone Gods — tonight being their third since September. Just as with Airbourne here last month, they put on a superb set rammed full of great songs like “Burn the Witch”, “Don’t Drink the Water” and “I’m With the Band”. However, the highlight tonight was without doubt the sight of singer/guitarist Richie Edwards climbing up one of the massive speakers, going into the balcony, running all the way round, down the stairs, through the pit and back on stage — all whilst still playing his guitar, followed by simply saying “It’s nice up in the balcony isn’t it?”. Brilliant. Also, Edwards’ insistence on referring to the Academy by its former name of the Hummingbird struck a chord with older members of the audience. Surely now, Stone Gods have served their apprenticeship, and come 2009 they should be ready to come back here as headliners.


The headliners take the stage to the chugging intro to “Rain Wizard” and immediately launch themselves into their excellent brand of punchy, riff-driven rock. Frontman Chris Robertson’s live voice is superb, while his lead guitar playing is effortlessly smooth and he directs his band as they rattle through songs old and new such as “Backwoods Gold”, “Long Sleeves” and “Hell and High Water”. But BSC are about so much more than one member, every guy in the band is a bundle of energy, and you just don’t know who to follow — the two headbangers of Ben Wells (guitar) and Jon Lawhon (bass), or the larger-than-life drummer John Fred Young who, behind the mass of curly hair, always sports an ear-to-ear grin. John Fred is one of the few drummers who could easily be a frontman as he oozes personality and rock-star cool. This is evidenced when he and Robertson change places during “The Key” for John Fred to belt out a harmonica jam, before taking his place back behind the kit for a gut-wobbling drum solo. Wonderful stuff.


One thing that was surprising was how much new material gets an airing, and just how good they sound in the live environment. For example, “Please Come In” and “The Bitter End” are taken to another level on stage, while “Peace is Free” is refreshingly uplifting with an almost gospel-like quality. While “Lonely Train” probably gets the loudest cheer of the night, there are large numbers of the audience singing along to every word of every song, and the band ride this wave of admiration with a performance that is loud and tight. They are also overflowing with confidence, and throw in a wonderful run through of “Voodoo Child” to round off final number “Maybe Someday”, which culminates in the whole band being on the drum rider, triumphantly accepting their applause. There’s no encore, but it simply isn’t needed because that 90 minutes will take some beating. There’s already talk of them returning to these shores next year, and with a live show as good as tonight’s, they will most certainly be welcome. The sky really is the limit for these guys from a small town in Kentucky.


Rain Wizard

Backwoods Gold

Blind Man

The Ghost of Floyd Collins

Hell and High Water

Long Sleeves

Please Come In

The Bitter End

The Key

Drum Solo

Reverend Wrinkle

Lonely Train

Peace Is Free

Shooting Star

Maybe Someday

Review — Dave Musson

Photos – Lucy Pryor

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4 thoughts on “Black Stone Cherry + Stone Gods + Sevendust @ Birmingham Academy – 10th December 2008

  1. oh right lol! Well I will say hello at the xmas party tomorrow night if you are there! I was talking to Matt Pargeter in the pit, he seemed like a nice guy too!

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