O2 Academy, Bournemouth

Black Star Riders

Tonight, the Black Star Riders roll into town for the last night of their “Heavy Fire” UK tour. The Ricky Warwick-fronted band; since starting off as a tribute to Thin Lizzy, have evolved into this much-loved Rock outfit who are now on their third album. As well as all the usual Rock radio stations the band are also regularly play-listed on Radio 2, which shows the diversity of their audience. Looking around the venue tonight it certainly shows that their appeal is reaching a very assorted audience.

On this tour the Black Star Riders have brought together two very different bands to provide support. The first of these are Scottish rockers “Gun” who arrive on the stage with loads of energy and a real aim of warming up this Sunday night crowd. They kick off with the uplifting “Let it Shine” from their 2015 album “Frantic” and then straight into the track that launched them into the public eye, “Word Up”. The unmistakable guitar intro gets loads of positive reactions from the audience on this radically reworked version of the Cameo song. Vocalist Dante Gizzi is on fine form and pushes the crowd to join in and the vast majority of the audience are in fine voice. The band are currently working on a new album; and as a little taster of what is to come we get treated to “She Knows”, which features an epic twin-guitar intro before thundering into something quite special. The band sadly only have around 30 minutes on stage and leave with the crowd wanting more with a storming version of “Shame on You”.

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Backyard Babies
Backyard Babies 12345678910111213

Next up we have Swedish Rockers “Backyard Babies”, a four-piece outfit who formed in the late 1980’s. They have their work cut out following the mighty “Gun” and have no trouble keeping up the momentum with their brand of Punk-infused Rock. They have a real energy about them and deliver their opening number “Th1rte3n or Nothing” with some serious intent. They combine some serious sleazy rock n’roll guitars with a dead on tight rhythm section. A band that has had the same line-up since their inception and have an unrivalled onstage chemistry. With songs such as the “Painkiller”(Dedicated to the late Jens Robert Dahlqvist of The Hellacopters) and the epic “Minus Celsius”; they whip up the crowd with a thoroughly entertaining set, warming things up nicely for the headliners arrival.

Black Star Riders
Black Star Riders 

As the Black Star Riders are here tonight to promote their third studio album, it makes perfect sense to open their set with the title track “Heavy Fire”. Ricky Warick strides on to the Bournemouth stage with a swagger and a confidence of an experienced rocker who knows just how to entertain. With his Rob Halford-style shades and sleeveless leather jacket he leads the band through this last night of the tour, just as fresh as they were when they started back in Cardiff on 2nd March. The band are on fantastic form and it is a sheer pleasure watching them effortlessly perform numbers like “Soldierstown” and the monumental “All Hell Breaks Loose”. Guitarist’s Damon Johnson and the legendary Scott Goram are just a beautiful pairing and the two of them produce some of the best guitar work you can ever expect to see from a rock band. The Bournemouth crowd respond well to every number but when “The Boys are Back in Town” gets an airing, the whole place is rocking like an Irish pub in Temple Bar on St Patrick’s Day!

The songs from the new record enhance the band’s ever-evolving sound with tunes like “Who Rides the Tiger”; showing the band’s diversity with this groove-laden beast of a tune, and “Testify or Say Goodbye” showing more of the Thin Lizzy leanings. During last three numbers the band could see the end in sight and seemed to up the tempo with the Celtic style “Kingdom of the Lost”, which got the crowd with fists in the air singing their hearts out. “Bound for Glory” continues in the same vein before the “Finest Hour” signals the start of the end of tour party, as the “Backyard Babies” and “Gun” return to the stage to take their bows in front of the excited crowd. The Black Star Riders once again complete yet another successful tour thrilling audiences with some perfectly executed rock n’ roll, performed with some style.

Set Lists
Black Star Riders
Heavy Fire
The Killer Instinct
Dancing With the Wrong Girl
Hey Judas
When the Night Comes In
Cold War Love
All Hell Breaks Loose
The Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy cover)
Hoodoo Voodoo
Who Rides the Tiger
Thinking about You Could Get Me Killed
Testify or Say Goodbye
Kingdom of the Lost
Bound for Glory
Finest Hour

Backyard Babies
Th1rte3n or Nothing
Dysfunctional Professional
The Clash
Brand New Hate
Bombed (Out of My Mind)
Minus Celsius
Look at You

Let It Shine
Word Up! (Cameo cover)
Don’t Say It’s Over
Better Days
She Knows
Steal Your Fire
Shame on You


Words by Dave “He Who Can Park” Chinery (Chinners)
Pictures by Jon “Can’t park a tank for toffee” Musselwhite

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