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Black Star Riders

Live in Sugar Land, Texas April 2018

Review by Greg Olma

This has been the third time I have seen Black Star Riders over the years, and each time I see them, they seem to get better.  The group initially started as a Ricky Warwick led Thin Lizzy back in 2011. Scott Gorham felt that the band should not only write new material, but that they should change the name to preserve the Thin Lizzy legacy.  With that, Black Star Riders was born, and they have to this date released three great records and have countless shows under their belt. 

This particular part of the tour saw them opening up for both Saxon and headliner Judas Priest, which meant that they were only afforded limited time to do their thing.  Whether headlining or supporting, Black Star Riders is a force to be reckoned with due to the sheer energy the band puts out.  Warwick, who handles vocals and some guitars, makes use of every square foot, engaging the audience at every chance.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

The set was almost only Black Star Riders material except for the token “Jailbreak” added for good measure.  I’m glad that they are focusing on their own material because, while it reminds me a bit of Thin Lizzy, it is quality material and they are a new band.  What did surprise me was that they only included two songs off of their latest disc Heavy Fire; namely “When The Night Comes In” and the title track.  Their first record All Hell Breaks Loose featured predominantly during the show with almost half the set culled from that album.  Tracks like “ “Kingdom Of The Lost," “Bound For Glory” and the title cut all sound great on record, but they really shine in a live setting.  They also performed a couple from their sophomore effort The Killer Instinct; namely “Soldierstown” and “The Killer Instinct."


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma

I mentioned Warwick and Gorham previously, but the rest of the band are all great performers as well.  Damon Johnson  (the other member who has been there from the start), together with Gorham have become a killer guitar duo that keeps a little of the Thin Lizzy sound but manages to create something new. Robbie Crane and new drummer Chad Szeliga are one tight rhythm section which provides that solid foundation for the others to build upon.  Each time I see these guys they get better and better, and I think this is their definitive line-up.  My recommendation to anyone reading this is to catch Black Star Riders any chance they get. Whether it is in a support slot or headlining, you won’t be disappointed.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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