I am delighted to say I am back at the Limelight Belfast with Black Star Riders in town, it has been a few years since we have had the pleasure of their company at this fine venue and a packed out house tells us everything we need to know about the popularity of this band and the appetite Belfast has for one of its prodigal sons (Well sure Newtownards is just down the road).
Up first though are local lads Trucker Diablo, one of Belfast’s long-standing rock bands who have a serious collection of highly addictive, easy-on-the-ear anthems that gets the Belfast crowd’s blood pumping! Harmonising guitars, killer vocals and riffs like earworms you can’t help but be won over by the charm of these hard-rocking lads, solid songwriting and big hooks ensure everyone’s got a smile on their face which is a good thing. With a barrage of big hits and a mix of old and new numbers, there was clear support for these guys in the room and that is great to see, they have earned it over the years but with a tight set wrapped up and a quick change around on the cards BSR is up next.
It’s an early start as the Limelight is well established as both one of Belfast’s finest music venues also turns into a student club night at the weekends so as the first band finishes the crew hit the stage and rips it apart asap to get the next band on or In this case tonight’s headliners. A well-oiled machine they have it down to a T!
Black Star Riders, fronted by legendary vocalist Ricky Warwick, is a hard-hitting, high-energy band that brings a dynamic and electrifying performance to the stage. With a lineup that includes the talented Robbie Crane on bass, Scott Gorham on lead guitar, and Jimmy DeGrasso on drums, Black Star Riders delivers a powerful rock and roll show that never fails to impress.
From the moment the band stepped onto the stage, the energy in the room was palpable. The audience is so up for this, roaring as the band takes to the stage eager for the show to begin. Black Star Riders did not disappoint, launching into their first song ‘Pay Dirt’ with a thunderous roar that had the crowd jumping and singing along.
Ricky Warwick is an exceptional frontman, with a charismatic presence that commands the stage. His powerful voice, backed by the driving beats of DeGrasso and the blazing guitar work laid down by Gorham on the recordings but this evening we have the majestic Sam Woods of Wayward Sons doing his thang alongside Ricky, Sam’s full-on bonafide rocker, every part the rock-star in his own right with blistering lead work and the stage presence and persona that screams “I am right where I am meant to be”, he’s a joy to watch on stage, so added to an already killer line-up this made for a truly unforgettable performance. Warwick’s energy was contagious, and the audience was caught up in the moment, swaying and singing along to every song. The band deliver a killer set packed with classic BSR tracks and new ones of their latest recording “Wrong Side Of Paradise” alongside some classic Lizzy numbers that have the locals whipped up into a frenzy! Of course, no BSR gig would be the same without the legend himself Mr Scott Gorham and when he took to the stage the party really started, the musicianship was at another level and everyone raised their game, it’s just a little magic that you have to experience in the flesh, there is nothing quite like witnessing musicians of this quality, feeling that air move across the room, the energy from the crowd feeding off the band who are on such a high, it’s a beautiful thing indeed.
One of the standout moments of the night was when the band launched into their hit single, “Kingdom of the Lost.” The crowd erupted, with fans singing along at the top of their lungs. Warwick encouraged the crowd to get involved, leading a singalong that had the entire room in sync. It was a truly magical moment and one that I will never forget.
The chemistry between the band members was also something to behold. Despite the different backgrounds and experiences of each member, they came together as one to deliver a seamless and dynamic performance. Sam and Scott’s work was nothing short of stunning, delivering solos that left the audience in awe. Crane’s bass playing was solid, driving the beat of the songs and anchoring the band’s sound. DeGrasso’s drumming was equally impressive, providing the heartbeat of the band and keeping the audience on their feet.
The energy from the band was matched by the energy from the audience. Like a glorious tug of war, the two relentlessly feeding off each other The crowd was alive with excitement, cheering and clapping along to every song. The atmosphere was electric, with everyone in the room feeling connected by the music. The Limelight was the perfect venue for Black Star Riders’ performance, with its intimate setting allowing the audience to get up close and personal with the band.
Black Star Riders’ performance at the Limelight in Belfast was nothing short of spectacular. The band’s energy, combined with that from the audience, made for a night that was truly unforgettable. Ricky Warwick, Robbie Crane, Scott Gorham, and Jimmy DeGrasso and Sam Wood are a true testament to the power of rock and roll, delivering a show that was both dynamic and electrifying. I cannot recommend catching them live highly enough, as it is a performance that you will never forget.
Well played gents
Check out our album review here: Black Star Riders
Photography: Mark McGrogan
Band promo shoots / Commissions available on request – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
@flashartmark // #flashartmark
BLACK STAR RIDERS NEW ALBUM WRONG SIDE OF PARADISE
OUT NOW VIA EARACHE RECORDS
Wrong Side Of Paradise Track-list
- Wrong Side Of Paradise
- Better Than Saturday Night
- Riding Out The Storm
- Pay Dirt
- Catch Yourself On
- Crazy Horses
- Burning Rome
- Don’t Let The World (Get In The Way)
- Green And Troubled Land
- This Life Will Be The Death Of Me
- Cut ‘n’ Run (Bonus Editions Only)
- Suspicious Times (Bonus Editions Only)
The band’s UK tour in February 2023, a special 10th-anniversary run of dates, as well as their headline sets at Planet Rockstock and Earache Records’ 35 Years Of Noise party, see the band welcome back guitarist Scott Gorham and original drummer Jimmy DeGrasso for the celebrations.
UK Tour Dates:
Saturday 11th February
Monday 13th February
Wednesday 15th February Norwich, UEA
Thursday 16th February Ipswich, Corn Exchange
Friday 17th February
Saturday 18th February
Sunday 19th February Leeds, O2 Academy
Tuesday 21st February
Wednesday 22nd February Bristol, O2 Academy
Thursday 23rd February Glasgow, SWG3
Friday 24th February
Sunday 26th February London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Tickets are on sale now from https://myticket.co.uk
Special Guests Michael Monroe and Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons on all shows except Belfast where Trucker Diablo open.