SCREAMIN AT THE RESCUE ROOMS.
Written by: Dan @ Cherry Dog Apparel
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Monday 2nd October 2023
Small intimate venues have always been a favourite of mine, so to see my favourite rock band play in one, is extra special! Black Stone Cherry, the hard rockers hailing from Edmonton Kentucky USA, recently dropped their latest record ‘Screamin at the Sky’ and have toured in aid of the release. If you’ve not heard of Black Stone Cherry, do check out their more popular records to warm up, but for those who have heard of them or are sporadic listeners, you have to listen to this new album in full! It’s got punch, emotion, passion and most of all heavy riffs and loaded drumbeats! It’s potentially their best album in my eyes! To build extra hype for their new album release, the band have been going around various parts of the UK to do signings - with limited tickets available. To get access to this (which I bloody did!) you had to pre-order the record or the vinyl (mine is blue and is limited edition) and select which store signing you’d like to attend. Now disregard the slight mishap with the vinyl records not getting through customs in time - it’s okay, I bought a white vinyl too - the signing went down great! I personally attended the HMV Vault signing in Birmingham. Fans queued together with their stacks of albums, posters, merch and even if you’re cool like me, drum sticks (which they all signed), all ready to get signed by Chris, Ben, John Fred and new bassist Steve. For me personally it was the second time meeting them, but first time seeing Steve. My last encounter with them was back at Download Festival in 2018. Even 5 years later, they're still, in my eyes, one of the most down to earth bands you could ever meet! They were happy to take pictures together plus they signed anything you put infront of them. In the closing remarks of my meet with them, I dished out complements for their efforts with the new record, but, I asked whether they were playing any classics in the gig the following night at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. And to slightly paraphrase, Chris said, oh yeah we got about 4 classics for you! Fuck yeah I said in response.
Now, the gig. Before I really get into it, let me tell you this. I did not have my phone out for pictures or videos until they were saying goodbye. The only 2 videos I took were when they were bowing to the crowd and a quick selfie video of me and my bud - just to simply capture the look on our faces of the joy we felt being there. When you’re immersed into the atmosphere of watching your favourite band in such a small room it’s hard to process all the set list after they’ve played. I know there were classics that I sung along every word to - which is most of the gig to be honest - but there were also songs from the new record that I hadn’t ingested enough of up until that point. Screamin’ at the sky was the kickstarter and that really set the tone. The heavy kicks and cymbal smashes from John Fred Young thundered throughout the hall to the backrooms where the merch and bar was located and that man killed it with his mid-set solo. Joe held rhythm and tempo throughout the gig and played so hard at one point he had to rush to the front of his rig and reset a new tom! Chris Robertson’s singing goes from strength to strength after each tour and its spine tingling to hear him hit those rough long notes from songs like ‘When The Pain Comes’, ‘The Mess You Made’ and of course ‘Screaming at the Sky’. The new bass player, Steve Jewell, fitted in well with the band on stage. His chemistry with the three others is easily solidified and the position swapping with Ben and Chris during the melodic stages of their songs showed they are very aware of each other’s surroundings. It’s like he’s been there the whole time, especially given how well he slapped the bass for the classic BSC tracks like ‘Lonely Train’. Ben Wells did what he does best and played guitar with style and energy! It’s always cool to see a karate kick from a musician on stage, but for Ben, IO’m pretty sure I’ve seen him do it at every gig, so it’s more mandatory than optional at this point. It was also awesome to see a solid appearance on stage from Jeffrey A. Boggs, who is the man responsible for the sound of the Tamborine and bongos, plus even more important he helps John Fred with the drum kit too!
Overall I think the band have crushed it during this tour. The new record is on repeat in my ears lately and has been widely accepted across the board by the loyal fans and by the rock community. Having seen them face to face talking about the new songs, then having the intimate experience watching play live has got me finding a new level of appreciation for them. Not only do they have fun doing what they do, but they also go above and beyond for their fans. Oh, I forgot to add as well, this gig was just them. No support or warm-up, just Black Stone Cherry for the whole night. I guesstimate that the gig was actually about 1 hour 45 minutes roughly. For a gig that only cost around £35 that’s a lot of bang-for-buck if you ask me. Regardless of price, I will always attend a Black Stone Cherry tour. Chris mentioned mid-set that in 2006 they had played in the basement of Rescue Rooms venue which was I believe he said 200-250 people or something. When asked, some of the audience shouted saying they were there. I bet that hit home with the band. Now I am not sure what the reasoning behind playing these smaller venues is for because they could easily sell upwards of 7,000 in an arena. My guess is maybe they wanted to do intimate gigs, or they are practising for a run of festivals with long sets next year… Maybe download Festival? I freaking hope so! Their last appearance saw them play on the Main Stage for Saturday just before Guns N’ Roses headlined. Now, with that in mind and another 5 years under their belt, would they be able to headline the second stage at least? I think so… Or maybe headline a smaller festival like Teddy Rocks, or 2000 Trees perhaps? Whatever Black Stone Cherry do in 2024, you will see me there in some way that’s for sure!
Lastly, as a personal request from me please do the following if you have not done so already. Listen to Screamin’ at the sky by Black Stone Cherry, and specifically these songs; Screamin at the Sky, When The Pain Comes, The Mess You Made, Who Are You Today and Not Afraid. Do yourself a favour and don’t be afraid to turn that volume up.
Pictures from the Rescue Rooms gig above credited to Adi Adams and Lauren Ashton from the Cherry Heads: The Official Black Stone Cherry Family. Feature photo sourced via Planet Rock.