Black Water County

It’s a balmy Sunday evening in Christchurch so what better way to spend my time than down my local watching a new band (to me), Black Water County. Their first outing at The Thomas Tripp Christchurch sees a half full room with an enthusiastic crowd. I miss opener “Times” but catch everything else. “Ramblin’ Johnny” kinda sets their stall out early. A strong dual vocal, multi-instrumentation and an almost swashbuckling attitude to stage presence. These guys (and gal) know their onions and look totally at home and confident in their output. “If I Ever” precedes a great cover of “Dirty Old Town”, which induces the first bout of dancing. “If Only You Were Here” I assume is an ode to a loved one but “Johnny No Legs” is simply hilarious. There’s a certain gravelly tone to Tim’s vocal, which is complimented by the softer (in places) dulcet tones of Shan (vox/tin whistle). They have a wonderful chemistry where a look is all that’s needed as to who takes vocal lead. Andy’s powerhouse drums are a mainstay throughout, however, they don’t drown the other instruments – far from it. Gavin (banjo/mandolin) plucks the strings as if it were his favourite electric guitar, while providing additional vocals. “Brandy” and “One More Beer” keep with the alcoholic theme but their brand of Celtic Folk/Punk has certainly won me over early.

Black Water County
Black Water County 1234567

They take a short break before returning with ‘Streams’ and once again are in full flow – this is no shoegaze show! The obligatory cover version comes next in the form of “Irish Rover”, which sees even more crowd participation. This band seem so comfortable on this stage tonight, one wouldn’t know it is their Thomas Tripp debut. “Lullabies” precedes the excellent “Black and Blue”, which had a back story but I wasn’t really listening! Nevertheless, it’s a set highlight. Their take on Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” however is the show stealer-every band member playing their part. This band have been energetic throughout and one can just imagine them in a tent at a cider festival, with everyone dancing to their infectious beat. “Green Finger” and “Flag” precede more songs about booze. “Beer” is an excuse to raise a glass while set closer “Dirty Glass” stays in the same vein. There’s a huge drum fill to end with and that seemingly is that.

They depart the stage briefly, only to be called back with wild howls for “one more, one more”! They don’t take much persuading and to quote Tim (vox/bass) “this one’s called Loch Lomond and yer gonna dance. And if you don’t we’re gonna come and sweat all over ya” – how very eloquent! They energetically play out the song with ad-libbing aplenty, giving Tim and Shan the opportunity to join in the dancing. Another big drum fill from Andy and that folks is the end. A fine evening’s entertainment and I just hope they are rewarded with a return visit, boy do they deserve it.

Set 1
Ramblin’ Johnny
If I Ever
Dirty Old Town (Pogues cover)
If Only You Were Here
Johnny No Legs
Way Down Low
One More Beer

Set 2
Irish Rover(Pogues cover)
Black and Blue
No Regrets
Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand cover)
Green Ginger
Dirty Glass

Loch Lomond



Review, & Pictures by Ross A. Ferrone

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