What needs to be said about Ricky Warwick, over the years whatever he has turned his songwriting craft to it’s always been of the highest quality.

So with a new Black Star Riders album recently released a tour announced this reviewer could not wait to get his live rock’n’roll fix.

Much to my surprise and delight the band were doing some HMV acoustic in-store shows so when this Cardiff date rolled around I made my way to Cardiff HMV and was treated to a fantastic three-song set  of the highest quality with all band members on great form and it was plain to see that they were clearly enjoying each others company and the interaction with the fans.

So as this crisp October night rolled in I made my journey to Cardiff university for the main event.

At 9:20pm the band arrived on stage and bang we were into the leading track off the new album ‘Another state of grace’ with it’s anthemic chorus and Celtic musical vibes it was a joy to the ears and both band and crowd were right up for it and with the duelling guitars of new boy Christian Martucci and that of six-string legend Scott Gorham going together in harmony like they had been playing together for years it was a joy to behold.

‘The killer instinct’ was up next and with Robbie Crane on bass and another new addition to the band drummer Chad Szeliga locked in pure thunderous rhythm driving force what a joyous occasion this Cardiff night was turning into.

‘All hell breaks loose’ was next up and I can honestly say after seeing Ricky Warwick numerous times over the years his gruff yet melodic vocals just get better and better with each passing year and his range is truly astonishing.

‘Testify or say goodbye’ is another gem and the energy of the band is truly amazing.

‘Tonight the moonlight let me down’ is my personal favourite off the new album and on record it has a lead saxophone break courtesy of a certain Michael Monroe but of course, he is not here tonight so Scott Gorham improvises with a truly stunning guitar solo in its place.

In fairness, Black Star Riders could play any song off their four albums and they would not sound out of place due to the quality of their back catalogue and they duly played some classics in the shape off ‘Ticket to rise’ and ‘Hey Judas’.

‘In the shadow of the war machine’ is another blinder off their most recent album and the energy of the band is stunning as they launch into ‘Soldierstown’.

‘Why do you love your guns’ is a great song about some serious issues in America and as Ricky explains to the crowd the nature behind the songs lyrics the tracks uplifting melody is still a pure joy to the ears.

‘Blindsided’ and ‘bloodshot’ keep this Cardiff crowd entertained which leads us into another new track off the bands latest masterpiece ‘Ain’t the end of the world’ which goes down a storm.

The songs just keep on coming with ‘When the night comes in’ ‘Underneath the afterglow’ ‘dancing with the wrong girl’ and ‘finest hour’ going by with each song being an absolute belter with great musicianship of a band at their best.

‘Kingdom of the lost’ and ‘bound for glory’ bring the night to a close and with that the band say their farewells and take a bow and the last hour and forty minutes have gone by in a blink of an eye and this Cardiff crowd have been entertained to a truly class performance that I can safely say we would all like the night to go on and on.

Black Star riders are one of the best live bands around and are truly at the top of their game so if you like loud rock’n’roll buy yourself a ticket and get along to a show you will not be disappointed and in these trying times we all need the power of music to shine a light.

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

Posted by Black Star Riders on Wednesday, 16 October 2019

 

Legendary guitarist and front-man of iconic rock bands Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy is set to auction his denim cut off jacket to the highest bidder to support the excellent work Cancer Fund For Children are doing to help patients and families throughout the hardest time of their lives.

Ricky Warwick will auction off the denim cut off he wore on stage during the Thin Lizzy summer shows in 2019. The jacket features a design of Black Rose by Zoe Hinton and it is signed by all members of the band: Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Darren Wharton, Damon Johnson, Troy Sanders, Scott Travis. All the proceeds will be donates to the charity, which desperately needs funding, receiving only 0.5% of government help.

The auction starts in 1stOctober 2019 at 10:00 AM PST and will take place on the Black Star Riders Facebook page. Bidders need to send an email to ace@sirenmanagement.comwith their bid and their contact details (shipping and handling costs will be included).  The auction will end on 31stOctober at midnight PST.  The highest bidder at that time will be notified and settlement made.

Ricky Warwick comments: “This is a wonderful charity doing many good things and helping kids who have been diagnosed with cancer, they recently helped a good friend of mine who’s young daughter had been diagnosed and helped her fight and overcome this terrible illness. Please help them to continue doing the wonderful work they do.”

Based in Northern Ireland, Cancer Fund For Children, offers support to families and patients and aims to empower, connect and strengthen them, so they feel equipped to deal with whatever the future may hold.

Further info on the charity are available – Here
You can access the auction here –Facebook

I’ve been a huge fan of Ricky Warwick for a long time and have enjoyed whatever music he has put out whether it’s the loud punk-metal of The Almighty or his storytelling solo albums and what we now come to know the great rock’n’roll of the Black Star Riders.

On the first trio of the Black Star riders albums, the songs have been largely co-written by Ricky and guitarists Damon Johnson and the legend that is guitar slinger Scott Gorham.

So it was a surprise when it was let known that Damon Johnson was moving on to pastures new and that the vacant guitar player slot was being filled by Christian Matrucci who is guitarist of Stone Sour and also to my delight I have discovered he has had various bands of his own over the years which I have found too have released top draw music but the question is  would he gell with Black Star Riders.

Fear, not Christian has not only fitted in but the music is all the better for it.

Starting off this new album titled “Another State Of Grace” we have the track “Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down” and immediately the ears are treated to a great guitar riff and Ricky’s trademark gruff vocal. Scott and Christian’s guitar mesh together beautifully to create a great rock’n’roll sound and we even have some saxophone added into the mix which fits in perfectly.

On track two we get the song “Another State Of Grace” which was the first song to be released as a single and this song has a big Celtic sound to it with a backing chant of “hey” being shouted which really makes the track stand out.

Up next we have “Ain’t The End Of The World” which is the second single to be released and this track has what I would call the classic Thin Lizzy sound with Scott Gorham’s trademark guitar all over it yet has a freshness that while takes you back to the glory days of Thin Lizzy it also shows how the Black star riders are very much their own band with their own identity.

“Underneath The Afterglow” starts off with a great classic rock guitar riff with a great vocal by Ricky and what strikes me is how Christian’s backing vocals go together so well with Ricky’s that you would think they have been in a band together for years.

“Soldier In The Ghetto” is up next and this track adds a funky intro before relaxing back into a great Black Star riders chorus and shows a band that’s not afraid to mix things up a bit but when they do they do it well.

“Why Do You Love Your Guns” slows the pace down a bit with a beautifully crafted acoustic guitar intro before a crunchy electric guitar riff is introduced to build the song up and a great passionate vocal by Ricky makes this track another winner.

Next up we have “Standing In The Line Of Fire” and this track picks the pace back up with some pounding drums and driving bass and a shredding guitar solo that makes this a great rock song.

“What Will It Take?” is another track which features acoustic guitar mixed with electric to add to a song with great harmonies. Also, we have some great female backing vocals which yet again add another dimension to the Black star riders sound.

“In The Shadow Of The War Machine” is a awesome rocker of a track with some real biting guitar and lyrics that describe the troubled times we are living in yet even though this is a serious song it still has the great harmonies and an uplifting chorus that I hope to hear live on the upcoming tour.

Finishing off the album is the track “Poisoned Heart” and this is how an album should be finished off and that is with style with Ricky’s soaring vocals backed with great backing vocals from Christian and great all-round work from the rest of the band making sure this album goes out with a bang.

Overall words are hard to describe how great this album is because every song on here is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser with no weak tracks or filler to be heard anywhere.

This is a great album that on repeated listens is an album that will keep on giving and in this reviewer’s opinion is Black Star Riders finest work to date.

Buy ‘Another State Of Grace’ Here

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

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Steelhouse Festival is the annual Welsh Classic Rock Festival situated on top of a mountain in Ebbw Vale, which now in its ninth year, is a little gem of a festival which slowly grows year on year despite its reputation for being generally a bit on the damp side. 

After the particularly wet event last year I was half expecting to see a smaller attendance, but no, still people turned up in their thousands and that is down to the repeatedly great line ups and the sheer friendliness and affordability of this festival, I mean, what other festivals can you go to and get 4 pints for a mere £15! 

Those in attendance were not only rewarded with a whole weekend of glorious weather, but with some great performances across the weekend from both the old stagers and the up and coming bands.

Friday nights entertainment started off with solid sets from both Blackwater Conspiracy (6/10) and The Rising Souls (7/10), but it was local boys Those Damn Crowes (8/10), who despite not being my thing, were the first band to really win over the whole crowd and put in a great performance. 

However Massive Wagons (9/10) a band I have previously described as “sloppy pub rock” took the honours of the day in style. The energy from the stage took the crowd to the next level and sporadic Dad dancing was seen all over the top of the mountain especially as they kicked out the Rick Parfitt tribute ‘Back to the Stack’ and the fantastic set closer of Slade’s ‘Come Feel the Noise’, which saw all the other bands join them for a triumphant sing along. A great way to end day one.

Day two openers Liberty Lies (6/10) didn’t do much for me musically, but it has to said that frontman Shaun Richards is not only a great singer, but also knows how to keep the crowd engaged which some funny in between-song banter. Ryder’s Creed (8/10) however were on a completely different level and looked like 5 guys who had been force-fed Red Bull and Haribo all morning before being unleashed onto the stage. Great catchy tunes and the sheer enjoyment on the band’s faces was just contagious. 

Unfortunately, Hollowstar (5/10) couldn’t follow that, and despite being perfectly competent and getting a good reception from the rest of the crowd sent me to the bar, which is where I stayed for a while causing me to, unfortunately, miss The Wild who I did hear good things about. 

Crobot (9/10) were one of my must-watch bands of the weekend after picking up a copy of their Something Supernatural album 5 years ago and they didn’t disappoint. Kicking off with Legend of the Spaceborn Killer, frontman Brandon Yeagley took to the stage looking like some crazy merman and he didn’t let up for the whole gig, completely owning the stage and in fact the mountain. Tight, heavy, big riffs and catchy choruses, job done! 

After that, I found Gun (8/10) a bit strange. To watch they were a bit dull, but the sheer strength of their songs made their performance work and work well. Watching people drunker than I sing along joyously to the likes of ‘Steel your Fire’, ‘Better Days’ and ‘Taking on the World’ really made me want to go home and dig out those albums again. 

The Temperance Movement (9/10) were my band of the day and had me throwing some hideously drunken shapes from the minute they walked on until the minute they walked off. The standard of musicianship was second to none as they drifted from epic strutting singalongs like ‘Only Friend’ to the stunning Deeper Cut which completely sent shivers up my spine. After that performance, I wouldn’t expect it to be long to see them return as a headliner. 

Thunder (8/10) don’t do bad gigs, and though they didn’t deliver the best gig I have seen them play, still had the crowd eating out the palms of their hands and singing along word for word from the minute they kicked off with ‘Loser’ to the minute they finished with a song I can’t remember due to a long days drinking and enjoying myself! 

The final day was opened up by fellow Cornishmen Willie and the Bandits (8/10) who I felt sorry for as they didn’t get the crowd they deserved due to issues getting into the arena with bag searches. Their laid back Bluesy Rock was the perfect start to the day and was a performance worth far better than their lowly spot on the bill. Sadly the good start to the day came crashing down to earth with The Amorettes (3/10) who frankly looked and sounded like two average bands had been stuck together with cheap sellotape to make one below average band. 

Completely the opposite of that were Tax the Heat (8/10) who returned to the mountain with another great display of slick, stylish rock and roll. Scott Gorham loves this band for a reason, even if he had to berate them for driving too slowly up the mountain! 

The charismatic Mango Kid himself Mr Danko Jones (8/10) brings a blistering set of balls-out garage rock and certainly wins over a legion of new fans. As an old fan, my only complaint was that he missed the golden opportunity to play the track Mountain which would have been perfect for the occasion.

Band of the weekend? Well, that goes to Uriah Heep (10/10) who provided a set of absolute perfection. The sound, the musicianship, Bernie Shaw’s timeless vocals, and Mick Box’s huge smile completely stole the show. How a band soon to be moving into their 50th year can still play gigs sounding this fresh and exciting is beyond me. Happy Daze indeed! 

At one point Corey Glover of Living Colour (8/10) said “who’s idea was it for us to follow Uriah Heep?” and that was the only problem with their set. While perhaps a band that didn’t quite fit in and draw the crowd that the Heep did, Living Colour came on and played superbly for those prepared to listen to them, and bringing out the festival legend Bernie Marsden for a cover of Cream’s ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ was a masterstroke. 

Closing the whole weekend was then left for Thin Lizzy (9/10) who were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the legendary ‘Black Rose’ album by playing it in its entirety. I was a little sceptical in advance but I have to say Thin Lizzy absolutely smashed it. This was in no small part to a rhythm section made up Mastodon’s Troy Sanders and Judas Priests Scott Travis, who were one of the most impressive I have heard in many years, but for me the star of the show was Mr. Ricky Warwick, who has gone and proved himself time and again to be someone who not only sings the songs of the late great Phil Lynott with style but who almost makes you think that perhaps he was the man who wrote and sang them first time around. No disrespect is meant it that comment, but Ricky Warwick does the job perfectly with the utmost respect and deserves that respect right back. 

With a closing ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ finished off with a great fireworks display Thin Lizzy were the perfect end to an amazing weekend, the only problem now is how are Steelhouse going to top that for their 10th Anniversary?! 

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Author: Nigel Taylor

 

Nuclear Blast are delighted to announce the release of Black Star Riders new studio album “Another State Of Grace” on the 6thSeptember 2019. The band will support the record with a full UK and Ireland tour in October 2019 with additional dates in other territories to be announced in the near future.

The album is available on CD, vinyl and vinyl picture disc, limited edition boxset and limited edition light green vinyl. Full album tracklisting for all formats below:

“Another State Of Grace” sees the band deliver another stunning collection of songs. The bands new members Chad Szeliga (Drums) and Christian Martucci (Lead Guitar) further developing the band’s burgeoning reputation as one of the most essential contemporary rock acts. Recorded at Sphere Studios in Burbank, California in February 2017, “Another State Of Grace” was produced & mixed by Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Anthrax, Uriah Heep).

After a long period off the road, Black Star Riders are back with a 15 date UK & Ireland Tour with special guests Stone Broken and Wayward Sons. Dates for Black Star Riders 2019 UK & Ireland Tour are:

Thursday 10thOctober                                   O2 Academy, Bristol
Friday 11thOctober                                         Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Saturday 12thOctober                                    O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Sunday 13thOctober                                       William Aston Hall, Wrexham
Wednesday 16thOctober                              Academy, Dublin *
Thursday 17thOctober                                   Limelight, Belfast *
Friday 18thOctober                                         Braehead Arena, Glasgow
Saturday 19thOctober                                    O2 Academy, Newcastle
Sunday 20thOctober                                       Rock City, Nottingham
Tuesday 22ndOctober                                    De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
Wednesday 23rdOctober                              O2 Academy, Bournemouth
Thursday 24thOctober                                   University Great Hall, Cardiff
Friday 25thOctober                                         Steel Mill, Wolverhampton
Saturday 26thOctober                                    O2 Academy, Leeds
Sunday 27thOctober                                       O2 Ritz, Manchester

* BSR and Stone Broken Only    § BSR Only as Guests to Saxon
Tickets are on sale now.
For Ticket Info please visit www.blackstarriders.com