Black Stone Cherry & Econoline Crush
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
A bit of the old and a bit of the new. Such was the order of business as veteran Vancouver-based industrial hard rock/metal band, Econoline Crush, came out of nowhere to open up for newbie Kentucky rockers, Black Stone Cherry.
Sadly, Econoline Crush disbanded in 2001 after releasing three strong albums but vocalist Trevor Hurst carried on under the Hurst moniker with a stripped-down, organic sound on that band’s WANDERLUST E.P.. Besides that release, little has been heard from Hurst & Co. over the last five years. Since 1997’s THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is one of my favourite albums ever, it was with great excitement that I approached this show after hearing Econoline Crush had been added to the bill. It has been reported that Hurst and bassist Dan Yaremko have reformed the band and are working on new songs but none were played on this night. The thirty-minute setlist was more of a run through Econoline Crush’s greatest hits as they dusted off blistering versions of “Home,” “Wicked,” “All That You Are (x3)” and “You Don’t Know What It’s Like” for an extremely appreciative hometown crowd. Hurst still sounds amazing and it was like he was never gone. Yaremko’s bass was featured prominently in the sound mix and with the samples/industrial elements playing a lesser role, the guitars sounded more natural, as well. As for the rest of the band, no information is available anywhere but they seemed to get the job done. Hopefully, Econoline Crush can become a viable entity for creating killer new music once again.
ECONOLINE CRUSH SETLIST
Sparkle & Shine
Make It Right
All That You Are (x3)
You Don’t Know What It’s Like
Last year, it was Wolfmother whose performance at Richard’s On Richards stood out as the show of the year for me. Even though it was only two weeks into 2007, Black Stone Cherry’s gig on this night is already a clear contender for this year’s honor. Released in the fall of 2006, the Kentucky band’s self-titled debut is one of the most amazing pieces of southern hard rock/metal to grace these ears in a long time. Grooving, melodic and packed with a truckload of guitar crunch, the album is ripe for air guitar virtuosos and metalheads alike. Chris Robertson’s soulful croon and the arena-rock riffs of Robertson and Ben Wells pack some serious wallop, while the drumming of John Fred Young is hard-hitting in the style of Tommy Lee and John Bonham. Considering Black Stone Cherry only has a single 46-minute CD to their credit, one would assume that their 45-minute setlist would encompass the entire thing quite nicely. Instead, the band played seven of the thirteen tracks from BLACK STONE CHERRY (“Crosstown Woman” and “Shooting Star” were scratched off the written setlist) then added in a cover of blues legend Muddy Waters (“Hoochie Coochie Man”) and spent some time doing solos and extended jams. Wells shredded behind his back, between his legs and with his teeth, while Young’s drum solo was a full-on tribute to seventies rock extravagance. Once could almost picture John Bonham pounding through “Moby Dick” only to come to the realization this was in fact a young buck-a-roo with a six-inch afro beating the skins. Not only accomplished musicians, Wells and Young contributed some excellent vocal harmonies to “Maybe Someday” that accentuated Robertson’s smoky drawl. “Rain Wizard,” “Lonely Train” and “Hell and High Water” crackled with electricity as the sold-out crowd of 900 people got their collective groove on for the band’s first visit to Vancouver.
BLACK STONE CHERRY SETLIST
Hoochie Coochie Man (Muddy Waters cover)
Crosstown Woman (**on setlist but not played**)
Hell and High Water
Shooting Star (**on setlist but not played**)
It is a rare thing that I would go out to a show to see the two opening bands and leave before the headliner (modern rock newbies, Hinder, in this case) even takes the stage but that is exactly what happened here. The return of Econoline Crush will hopefully usher in some renewed interest for the band and with the momentum Black Stone Cherry is beginning to achieve should take them to the big leagues in a very short time. Based on what I saw and heard, they are ready for it. Hot off the heels of a tour opening for Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, Black Stone Cherry is one of those bands whose crossover potential is huge and whose sound is timeless. While other bands jump on the seventies rock bandwagon, these guys are the real deal and with an average of only 23 years of age, they have a bright future ahead of them, too.
***Thanks to Kelli at House of Blues for the press pass.