North America is Finally Ready for Black Star Riders!
“There are no good new bands. “
“Classic rock bands don’t release any good new music. “
These are two widespread myths that are commonly believed by the rock music community at large. They are being perpetuated by fans that are stuck in 1985. Not that 1985 is a bad place to be stuck. If I had a flying DeLorean, I would probably head there right now. However, we have to take time-travel out of the equation (for now at least) and need to be proactive as we seek out new music and new bands. Have some faith that there are bands out there making great new music that can make us feel like we did all of those years ago. With that in mind, I give you Black Star Riders.
This band started in 2013 with the best intentions. Scott Gorham’s latest Thin Lizzy lineup decided they wanted to write and record new music. As the album started to take shape, they all agreed that it would not be right to use the Thin Lizzy moniker, out of respect to that band’s legacy and the absence of Phil Lynott. This was an incredibly brave move as the marquee recognition of Thin Lizzy would have been more attractive to concert promoters, worldwide.
The resulting album All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose is a slab of catchy riff rock that could sit comfortably with the Thin Lizzy catalog, but was also something entirely fresh and new. Like most new rock music, it was greeted enthusiastically in the European market and the band did most of their touring on that side of the Atlantic.
They have released 2 more albums since then, 2015’s The Killer Instinct and 2017’s Heavy Fire. The band has gotten better with each release and have held their ground trying to make Black Star Riders the focus as they play less and less Thin Lizzy material in their live sets with each passing tour. The songwriting tandem of Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson has coalesced into a lethal tandem and the twin guitar leads from Gorham and Johnson harken back to the classic Lizzy sound with a modern twist. Outside of a handful of support and club dates in 2014 and 2015 the band has been absent from North American venues.
All of that is going to change in March/April as they crisscross the country as the opening act of Judas Priest’s Firepower Tour. Although they are playing third on the bill headlined by Priest, with Saxon in the middle, this tour should get them more North American exposure than any of the touring they have done in the past 5 years.
I’m hopeful that the chilly spring weather on the east coast where the tour opens, will keep tailgating to a minimum and people will get into the venue on time to see BSR tear it up on stage. So spread the word, get into the venue on time, and check out a band that is new and classic all at the same time.
Written by Sam Supey