Trucker hats, flannel, denim, and more than enough piss and vinegar.
This is what Black Stone Cherry brings to their live show; aside from some of the greatest ass kicking songs of the past couple decades. They keep their look scaled down to rural Americana and let the music do all of their talking. These Kentucky natives are some badass country boys that know how to tear shit up, but their American kinfolk don't seem to appreciate what they have to offer like the Brits do. This Thank You: Livin' Live CD/DVD set (which is also available in Blu-Ray and digital) is a recording from their October 30, 2014 gig in Birmingham, UK. They can be seen and heard playing to 8,000+ insanely dedicated Black Stone Cherry fanatics. And, after watching and listening to this set, I can absolutely promise you that you have never heard a more responsive crowd in the history of live recordings.
I had tickets for the Chicago show on this tour. They were touring on their Magic Mountain record, which met with mediocre success at best here in the U.S. The gig was booked at a small bar and ended up getting cancelled. As soon as they landed in the UK they found themselves playing arenas filled with rabid followers. I'm not exactly sure why everyone here in the U.S. isn't flocking to see our Kentucky comrades lay down their giant can of musical whoop ass, but I assure you that the UK folks wouldn't dare miss it. The band knows where their most loyal and dedicated following is, and it's not anywhere on this side of the Atlantic.
Let's get the nitty gritty details out of the way. Each band member's performance is stellar and on point, as anyone that knows this band would expect. But, that's just a small part of what drives this recording.
I sat down, put on the surround sound, and started watching the DVD. After the band explodes onto the stage with "Rain Wizard" from their debut, the fan favorites just keep coming. The method in which this was recorded is such that it allows the crowd to be heard. The crowd noise is high in the mix, and there is a great reason for it - those Birmingham blokes rock the joint. Even with the high intensity of songs like "Bad Luck And Hard Love" and "Maybe Someday," the real chills came when singer Chris Robertson didn't sing but a few words of one of their most powerful tracks. "Things My Father Said" is a highly personal and meaningful power ballad as it is, but when Robertson goes to sing it here and he's drowned out by the crowd it becomes something very moving and special. You can see Robertson deeply touched as the crowd recites each and every word for him, and they do an amazing job of carrying the song from beginning to end. It's a moment that gave me goosebumps and filled me up emotionally. I really can't say I've ever had that happen with any live recording prior to this one.
Aside from getting a massive 20 song set of their finest songs on the DVD, you also get bonus material that includes the band doing two songs in front of the incredibly large ocean of fans at Download Festival 2015, as well as a 20 minute interview. All of that material on the DVD paired with 15 of those tracks on a well-produced CD makes this an amazing package for any fan of no nonsense rock and roll.
On April 1, 2016, Black Stone Cherry will release their self-produced fifth album, simply titled Kentucky with the prestigious rock /blues label, Mascot Records.