25/11 – 2015
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
In February came the latest album from Black Star Riders called THE KILLER INSTINCT which is the second album so far and the all star act that is led by Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy, Phenomena, 21Guns) has got a new bass player in Robbie Crane (Ratt, Vince Neil solo etc) who is replacing Marco Mendoza. The band has been playing at festivals this past summer but is currently out on a European tour that kicked off of France and ends in England at the 19th of December. Four shows were done in Sweden and one of them took place at Kulturbolaget in Malmoe. The Swedish Bonafide joined the Swedish leg of the tour and later on The Weyers joined in as support act. The new Black Star Riders album is absolutely brilliant and I really looked forward to hear the new songs live. The same day as the show the local soccer team in Malmo played an important game against the French team PSG in the Champions League and since the famous Zlatan Ibrahimovic who now plays in PSG is from Malmoe many people were attending the game instead of seeing the show. Zlatan had booked the grand square in Malmoe and put up big tv-screens so that everyone that hadn’t a ticket to the game could watch it on tv and the organizers had estimated that about 10 000 people was going to see the game at the grand square, that’s how big Zlatan and soccer is in Malmo. Maybe the older fans (in the age category 50-60+) of Scott Gorham and Thin Lizzy chose to watch the game instead of the show. After all the soccer game in Malmo was something that probably never is going to happen again and I guess it’s a bigger chance to see Black Star Riders performing in Malmo rather than PSG coming back here.
Since The Weyers joined the tour the schedule was changed and the doors to the club opened already at 7 pm and the support act was going to kick off the night at 7.15. I arrived a bit late to the club and when I got there at 7.30 The Weyers were already at the stage and since I was late I couldn’t take any pictures of the duo.
The duo consisted of a drummer and a guitarist, because of all the gear and equipment to the other two acts The Weyers stood on the ramp performing. Their rock n roll sounded a bit strange without a bass and the people in the club seemed to feel the same as I. Not many stood in front of the stage looking at the band, most people stood at the bar and only clapped their hands when the duo announced their last song for the night. I can’t say much about the show since I was late and I never heard the band before. The music sounded a bit strange and I really lacked a bass that’s for sure.
More people started to arrive to the club and since Bonafide comes from Malmoe I guess that many had made their way to Kulturbolaget in order to see them. Bonafide is led by Pontus Snibb and none of the original members is today a current part of the line-up. The last addition to the band is guitarist Anders Rosell that joined forces in 2014. DENIM DEVILS is the name of the band latest and fifth album (I lost the interest in the band after the third album and haven’t heard the past two releases at all) and the band have toured heavily in the southern parts of Sweden this past year. Even though the band didn’t have much gear on stage it seemed to be a bit crowded up there and about 8.15 it was time for the local sons to once again deliver some solid rock n roll music at Kulturbolaget.
Bonafide got the party started right away with “Doing The Pretty” and Snibb thanked the crowd for being at the club, I know there’s a really important game going on , he said, but we play music and music is what counts. “Hold Down The Fort” followed and it felt like the band got a well needed vitamin injection with the members in the band because it was a long time since I saw the band as vital as I did now. The line-up is:
Pontus Snibb – lead vocals, guitar
Anders Rosell – guitar
Martin Eklund – bass
Niklas Matsson – drums
Snibb announced the older song “Dirt Bound” and all of the three guys in the front used the stage to walk around on and to connect with the fans. The heavier rock n roll/hardrock music of Bonafide fitted perfect as a warm up for Black Star Riders and it was something the people in the club also felt. “The Mess” followed and Snibb said it was nice to be back at Kulturbolaget again and he fired off “Rock N Roll Skål” (skål means cheers in Swedish). So was it time for a song from the new album in “50/50” and Snibb left the stage and walked out into the crowd and played guitar amongst the fans. When the song ended he said the band got some extra cheap stuff to sell in the merch stand and urged everyone to buy a t-shirt before we left the club. He wanted the club to scream for him in “Loud Hand” and I was once again struck by how tight the band was and I have had some problems before with Snibb’s vocals but think that he didn’t sound as nasal and high pitched this night as before.
Since the band had some foreign friends in the crowd Snibb changed to English and said it was nice to see them. The video to the next song was filmed at Kulturbolaget Snibb said and it was “One Kiss” that now followed. The older song “Hard Livin Man” continued the show and Snibb talked a bit how important Zlatan is for Malmoe and that he has become one of the worlds best soccer player and that he has done a great job taking himself from the projects of Malmo to the top elite soccer players in the world. Ekelund got so bored at Snibb and his talk about soccer that he said that isn’t it music we’re playing here? Should we play music or soccer? Snibb laughed and said it’s music and the band had one more song to play after which it was time for Black Star Riders to enter the stage. “Fill Your Head With Rock” ended the Bonafide show, the song included a sing a long part in the middle and after that 45 minutes of Swedish rock n roll was over.
I thought the band put on a great show and the guys seemed to be having a fun time on stage together. It wasn’t only Snibb that connected with the fans but all of the members did their part. The band impressed me and they were the perfect opener for Black Star Riders.
Set list (not in order)
Doing the Pretty
Hold Down the Fort
Rock n Roll Skål
Hard Livin Man
Fill Your Head With Rock
It felt like a lot of people actually left the club after having seeing Bonafide and the club was maybe semi-full with people when the crew began to prepare the stage for Black Star Riders. Maybe people left to see the game, I don’t know but the club got pretty empty. Nothing much but the gear and a backdrop were placed on to the stage when the set up was done and so was it time for the nights headline act to make their way on to the stage.
Black Star Riders
All of the members came on to the stage during the intro music and the first song out for the night was “Bloodshot”, Warwick asked if the fans were ready and the Thin Lizzy classic “Jailbreak” followed. The band caught the crowds attention right away and the night continued with “Soldierstown” and “Charlie I Gotta Go” which is the latest single from the brand new album. Warwick asked if the crowd was ready for more music and fired off “Are You Ready”. The line-up is:
Ricky Warwick – lead vocals, guitar
Scott Gorham – guitar
Damon Johnson – guitar
Robbie Crane – bass
Jimmy DeGrasso – drums
The old Thin Lizzy songs woke up the crowd and the fans sang a long with Warwick in the song. Gorham and Warwick stood in the middle of the stage playing and it was no doubt that it were those two who ran the show. Warwick took on his acoustic guitar in “Hey Judas” and I was struck by how solid the band is and how well the members completed each other. The small crowd did its best to support the band and Warwick wanted the people to clap their hands in “Through the Motions” and thanked the fans for supporting the band. He wanted the fans to give a warm welcome to new bass player Robbie Crane and the night moved on with another great and epic Lizzy song on “Waiting For An Alibi”. The crowd woke up when the band played Lizzy songs but during the rest of the show and the current Black Star Riders songs they mostly stood put watching the band and applauded politely. Warwick introduced drummer DeGrasso after which it was time for “Hoodoo Voodoo” and even though I really enjoyed hearing the old Lizzy songs I really loved to hear the new songs and they worked as good live as they do on album. Black Star Riders sure have delivered two solid albums and it was because of those songs I had come to see the band.
“All Hell Breaks Loose” followed and Warwick’s vocals were perfect and he sure has kept his voice intact, he sings as good as he’s always done. It was Johnson that took most of the lead guitar parts but Gorham and Warwick took a few and all the three guitar men did their parts brilliant and the same went for the rhythm section who were awesome, this sure is an all star band in all possible way. The monumental “The Boys Are Back In Town” woke up the calm crowd and everyone in the club sang along with Warwick in the lyrics. It felt like many was there to hear the Lizzy songs however I think the bands own songs are solid and can stand on their own. “Bound For Glory” followed in which there were drum/guitar episode after which the song continued. Gorham took the mic and said it was nice to be in Malmo again and that we had to give it up for Warwick on vocals and guitar. Warwick took on his acoustic guitar once again and fired off “Blindsided” in slow tempo. Warwick then wanted the fans to shout hey, hey, hey for him but he wasn’t pleased and wanted them to shout louder and finally he was satisfied.
Come on Malmo jump with us in “Kingdom Of the Lost” he said and parts of the crowd did as they were told. Everyone in the band moved around connecting with the fans, it was only Gorham that took it more slow and steady. “Finest Hour” followed and after that Warwick introduced Gorham as the craziest guy and gunslinger he’d ever met and the fans all gave a huge applauds to the living legend Scott Gorham. Gorham looked a bit moved by the words and the support and after that introduction what could have suited better than another Thin Lizzy tune in “Emerald”. The song is one of my personal favorite Lizzy songs and I was really glad to hear it live. “The Killer Instinct” which is the first single out from the new album with the same name followed and Johnson and Gorham each did some really great lead guitar parts.
While the fans applauded Warwick changed to electric guitar and thanked the fans for coming to the show, he also thanked them for believing in rock n roll in these crazy days and that meant a lot to him. It means a lot for us that you have come to see us live and try to forget the world outside for a bit, Thanks for having a good time here tonight with us. He introduced Johnson who fired off “Rosalie” which turned out to be a real crowd pleaser among the Malmo fans. Warwick invited the fans to sing the chorus which they did but Warwick wasn’t happy and told them that Gorham wanted them so sing a lot louder. Warwick and Johnson pulled off a guitar duel but Warwick discovered he hadn’t got much sound in his guitar and looked angry at a roadie at the side of the stage. The duel turned out to be the opening to “Whiskey In The Jar” which was the closing song for the night. Warwick sang one verse and a chorus until a roadie came out and adjusted his guitar. The fans all sang a long in the song and seemed to be having a good time to what I can say is one of the most known Thin Lizzy tunes. The band did a brilliant version of the song and Warwick once again shined as lead singer and frontman of Black Star Riders. When the song ended the fans shouted for encores but that song ended the entire night.
It was a really strange closing to the show and I wonder why we didn’t get to hear at least one encore, the band didn’t say the show was over with the song nor did they gave the fans a chance to thank them. They only finished off the song and walked off the stage and it was pretty much one of the weirdest show endings I’ve experienced. The show was brilliant in all kinds of ways but I really wanted to hear a little more, 1h 35 wasn’t enough for me. It was nice to hear that they didn’t rely on mostly Lizzy songs but more on the Black Star Riders songs. After all, they are not a Lizzy cover band, but their own band and I was really happy to hear that the majority of the songs were from their own two albums.
The band was tight and solid but what else can you expect, we’re talking about extremely skilled musicians. It was overall a great show but I lacked encores and a little more play time, the show was too short I think..
Charlie I Gotta Go
Are You Ready
Through The Motions
Waiting For An Alibi
All Hell Breaks Loose
The Boys Are Back in Town
Bound For Glory
Kingdom Of The Lost
The Killer Instinct
Whiskey In The Jar
Thanks to the head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass.
Thanks to the always friendly staff and security at the club.