Live Review: Black Star Riders

March 18, 2017

Black Star Riders take on St Patrick’s Day at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

To tear people away from the boozer on St Patrick’s is a daring move for the Black Star Riders but it seems to have paid off. Due to their latest album Heavy Fire gaining a spot on the top of the UK album charts along with their iconic past, this comes at no surprise. Planet Rock are even here tonight to pass on the award for Best British Album quickly before their set. Dante Gizzi from the supporting band GUN pulls BSR frontman Ricky Warwick to accept the award.

Though most of the members are from Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders have now conjured up an arsenal of songs for themselves. Though they haven’t completely lost their roots- the guitar playing is almost identical, and paired with Ricky’s vocals it seems like their songs are an echo of Phil Lynott’s Irish cooing.

The eerie air raid sirens signal the band’s entrance on stage as they leap into their title track “Heavy Fire”. Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson deliver the goods in the form of heavy riffs and the classic solos for which they’re known for. From the get go, you know that their set is going to be delivered with the utmost professionalism.

Ricky leads The Forum through their BSR tracks with his strong masculine stances and commanding leathery sound. He makes several flits off stage to swap guitars in between songs and sometimes comes back with no guitar.

They slow it down for “Cold War Love”, showing a softer side to the group of hairy men wrapped in leather and chains. Jimmy Degrasso holds back on his fierce drumming as Ricky sings a little lighter but still laced with authority. Although Heavy Fire is a fresh sound from the boys there is an element of classic rock that older fans can still enjoy.

Before the band could introduce the next song, the audience begin singing “Happy Birthday”. It’s Scott Gorham’s birthday and is, being one of the original members of Thin Lizzy, a treasure to music fans. The band look genuinely touched and Scott humbly thanks the audience.

The ever-recognisable fingering to “The Boys Are Back In Town” begins and appears to be their only Thin Lizzy song of the night. Black Star Riders no longer have to rely on Lizzy songs to complete their set. Though “The Boys” is quite a disappointing choice, given the vast discography they had to choose from, the audience appreciates it none the less.

They whip out “Kingdom Of The Lost” from All Hell Breaks Loose. The stage is cloaked in green lights and everyone gets on their feet to jump around silly. Even the man in front of me who has been stroking his wife’s back non stop since I arrived decides to tear himself away from her for this moment. The St Patrick’s mood has definitely taken over.

The show ends on “Finest Hour” without an encore. But at this stage, the boys don’t need any gimmicks or pantomime acts to impress. Black Star Riders have proved tonight that they are their own band that you can rely on to deliver. After three albums of great hard rock anthems and ballads, Black Star Riders are on the top of their game and know exactly how to perform.

Heavy Fire is now available here.



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