Black Star Riders returned to Dublin on Wednesday (16th October 2019) for a double dose of action, with a full throttle show at the Academy as well as an earlier acoustic set and meet and greet with fans at the nearby Tower Records. The shows came as the band kicked off their latest tour in support of new album ‘Another State of Grace’.
One particularly emotional moment, celebrating the roots of the band in the historic Thin Lizzy, was the announcement by front man Ricky Warwick of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee 2020”, to huge applause. It would be swell to have an equivalent of sport betting for hard rock, to enjoy the thrill of putting some odds on the results of the online vote for the Hall of Fame all the way up to next January.
Four albums and seven years into a career that has seen various line-up changes - including the loss of key member Damon Johnson in 2018 - it was a very different beast that this time took to the Dublin stage than on previous visits. The sound may not have changed – a faithful romp through impassioned Celtic-tinged rock, with front man Ricky Warwick at its beating heart – but the injection of fresh blood in guitarist Christian Martucci and drummer Chad Szeliga has infused the band with a fresh sense of energy, urgency, and passion.
Kicking off their Academy set with recent single and title track of their latest set ‘Another State of Grace’, the five-piece meant business from the off, with searing guitars and catchy vocal hooks driving fists-aloft anthems.
Following with a duo of title tracks from albums #2 and #1 in ‘The Killer instinct’ and ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, Black Star Riders statement of intent proved that this was a band unreliant on their associations with later-day Thin Lizzy. And as the night unfolded, it would prove to be an all Black Star Riders, no Thin Lizzy set.
Greeting the crowd, one-time resident Warwick said; “It’s good to be back in Dublin. Nine years I lived here, and it was the best years of my life!”.
With Szeliga’s bombastic and animated approach anchoring the band at the back, it was Martucci who shone front of stage, with his engaging presence. A natural rock star, the former Stone Sour player looked to be having the time of his life, as he prowled, posed, and rocked his slinky socks off.
But it was the man stage right, Scott Gorham who garnered the largest cheers. A local hero thanks to his long partnership with Dublin’s favourite son Phil Lynott, the Irish dates (one in Limerick the night before, and one in Belfast on 17th) couldn’t have been timed better. Coming in what had been a monumental week for Thin Lizzy, Warwick introduced the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee 2020”, to huge applause.
Mixing up the set and slowing the pace with a glorious run through sublime ‘The Killer Instinct’ classic ‘Blindsided’, the track showed another side to the band, proving just how strong the band’s material can be.
Closing with an uproarious ‘Finest Hour’, which was dedicated to Lynott, before a rousing ‘Bound for Glory’ Ricky signed off saying; “Dublin City you never let us down. Thank you so much for your passion, and your loyalty”.
Earlier in the day the band stopped off at Dawson Street’s Tower Records store to play a short set and sign copies of their new album. Playing three tracks entirely unplugged, BSR met fans, posed for photos, and signed autographs for the intimate gathering.
Black Star Riders 2019 U.K. tour continues across the U.K. on Thursday, when the band return to Belfast’s Limelight. For a full list of dates, see below.
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Black Star Riders 2019 UK & Ireland Tour
Thursday 17th October - Limelight, Belfast
Saturday 19th October - O2 Academy, Newcastle
Sunday 20th October - O2 Ritz, Manchester
Tuesday 22nd October - De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
Wednesday 23rd October - O2 Academy, Bournemouth
Thursday 24th October - University Great Hall, Cardiff
Friday 25th October - Steel Mill, Wolverhampton
Saturday 26th October - O2 Academy, Leeds
For Ticket Info please visit www.blackstarriders.com
Check out our gallery from the shows below. All photos by Eamon O'Neill.