Tonight we were greeted with a very special sold out show. The kind of show that often happens overseas but rarely here in the states. BLACK STAR RIDERS used to be called THIN LIZZY, and over the last few years every one from there has been out of the band with the exception of guitarist Scott Gorham. They morphed into their own group and changed their name when they decided they were going to embark on new original music.
The new album The Killer Instinct surpasses their debut All Hell Breaks Loose by a country mile. BLACK STAR RIDERS have a very good problem on their hands in which the new material is so good that it could stand on its own without any of their old songs. By opening up with “Bound for Glory” they sent a message that this a new band in its entirety. And while they did do three songs from the THIN LIZZY era most of the night we were treated to more recent material like “Kingdom of the Lost” , “Finest Hour”, and of course the title track from their newest album “Killer Instinct.”
One of the highlights of the evening that has to be noted was “Emerald” from the 1976 Jailbreak album. This song is one of the templates of the sound of IRON MAIDEN. As a fan I couldn’t stop noticing the galloping bass with the twin guitar attack. They closed their set with the BOB SEGER cover “Rosalie”. Nine songs was short but sweet. If these BLACK STAR RIDERS continue putting up solid efforts they are truly bound for glory (see what I did there?).
Singer Joey Tempest and the boys in EUROPE released probably their best record ever in War of Kings. This line-up is the same original one from The Final Countdown days. Opening up their amazing set with the epic title track “War of Kings” they showed Irving Plaza who’s boss. Right out of the gate you could feel the band tapping into the 1970’s hard rock sound. Songs such as “Hole In My Pocket” , “Second Day”, and “Days of Rock and Roll” captured a grand epic quality. Shades of DEEP PURPLE and the aforementioned THIN LIZZY’S influence were strong throughout the night. In addition to this being the last show of the U.S. run this was also the first time in ten years the band stepped foot onto American shores before going out on a set of European festivals which is set to finish in December of 2015.
Hopefully moving forward here in North America the public will be more receptive to this type of music. It’s great hard rock with heart and balls, and it blows my mind that rock stations won’t play the hell out of at least one song from each album by both of these fantastic bands.
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOS: ANYA SVIRSKAYA