Live review: Black Stone Cherry

Kentucky heroes bring their brand of southern rock to London.

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Watching Black Stone Cherry perform is like taking a masterclass in how to roll a bunch of rock clichés into a credible band.

On paper, a group that sounds like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Mötley Crüe meets Free shouldn’t work, but after watching them move from CR Best New Band hotshots (2007) to thrashing out a two-hour set as first-time headliners at Wembley Arena you come away feeling that they know exactly what they’re doing.

Opening their set with the bluesy Rain Wizard, the band waste no time in getting right to the epicentre of their sound. The power is turned up full-blast by the third song – the storming _Me And Mary Jane _– and the audience is enraptured, obeying singer Chris Robertson’s every command to “put your hands in the air”.

The big chorus power of 80s glam-rock is a big part of what Black Stone Cherry do, and their harmonies ring out clearly. Of course, they wouldn’t be true southern fellas if they didn’t throw in a bit of country, and sure enough,_ Hell And High Water_ (after an intro that borrows heavily from Free’s All Right Now) is their lilting, back-to-their-roots number. The audience sing at the top of their lungs for BSC’s very own cheese anthem, Blame It On The Boom Boom, after which the band thank them with genuine humility.

Original they might not be, but Black Stone have got to the heart of southern classic rock without becoming a parody. And one listen to the roar of the crowd, or a glance at the venues they now inhabit, proves they’re doing something right.