Spreadin’ the Smoke
Blackberry Smoke – Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh – June 12, 2015
“This is the best audience of the tour so far”, proclaims Blackberry Smoke frontman Charlie Starr midway through the band’s spellbinding set. He’s addressing a slavishly loyal and noisy crowd, on this, the band’s first visit to Scotland’s capital.
There is no time to draw breath as the Atlanta quintet race through a set drawn from their new platter, ‘Holding All The Roses’, and liberally sprinkled with crowd pleasers from an impressive back catalogue. The band mixes a heady brew of southern rock, blues, country rock and the occasional nod to psychedelia.
Packed in like sardines, the crowd know every word to every song. It’s a thrilling spectacle to observe the chemistry between band and audience. The good time vibe is infectious. In fact, Starr cheekily dedicates ‘One Horse Town’ to Edinburgh.
It’s clear why Blackberry Smoke has garnered so many rave live reviews. Years spent honing their act on the road across America has paid dividends. Mere words cannot describe how tight this band sounds.
Whiskered man mountain Brit Turner’s thunderous drums complement the throbbing bass of Glenn Hughes lookalike, Richard Turner. It’s propelled by a searing twin guitar attack from Starr and Paul Jackson.
Standout tracks include ‘Let Me Help You (Find the Door)’, a blistering ‘Wish In One Hand’ and the swaggering, ‘Everybody Knows She’s Mine’. Hell, scrub that, every song was a stand out sending shockwaves of joy through the band’s Scottish disciples.
A raucous ‘Shake Your Magnolia’ brings the curtain down on the main set, which is greeted by ear-splitting screams from the crowd pleading for an encore. This was one of the best live concerts witnessed by this scribe in many a year. A band at the very top of their game.
I can say without fear of contradiction that Blackberry Smoke are now the undisputed standard bearers for the Southern rock genre. Move over Lynyrd Skynyrd, break out the Tennessee champagne, there are new Georgia kids on the block.
Get ‘Holding All the Roses’ now on CD and vinyl
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