In what feels like a long time coming Black Star Riders return to Belfast dovetailing the release of their fourth studio album ‘Another State Of Grace’, in tow, UK quartet Stone Broken with a hefty reputation as one of the UK’s top up and coming bands.
Kicking off Stone Broken hit the stage at 7:20 as advertised with blistering intent, hefty riffs, Stone Broken are one tight ass band with a sublime melodic backbone as frontman Rich Moss is firmly planted to the floor as he delivers a solid vocal performance against a wall of distortion pouring out over the hungry Belfast crowd.
The sound is crystal clear so u can fully appreciate the intricate guitar work going on throughout their songs, this is arena-worthy rock at its finest in the intimate settings of the Limelight Belfast, one of the cities hottest venues for live music and tonight the Limelight faithful are getting a treat. One the great things about a venue such as The Limelight is the sheer amount of live shows they put on and the opportunity to capture bands like Stone Broken on their way up, tonight is one such night where people will say “I caught them supporting BSR” cos these guys are going places, first-class songwriting and a polished performance demands your attention, their quality shines through and as the miles are clocked up on the road SB will only go from strength to strength.
As SB leave the stage the crowd is roaring their approval, a killer set delivered with pinpoint accuracy made its mark with this Belfast crowd, their biggest to date.
8:30 on the dot and the lights crack like lightning as BSR announce their imminent arrival to the stage, Shit just got real and the volume is up to eleven as BSR breaks the tension as the open ring riff of ‘Another State Of Grace’ kicks in. Ricky Warwick once again at home in Northern Ireland. A formidable frontman oozing charisma delivers his vocals with a commanding presence, the wailing guitars of Scott Gorham and Christian Martucci nailing the riffs. As Ricky catches his breath between songs “Hello Belfast, it’s good to be home, it’s only taken me 30 years to realize that while these bullshit politicians mess with our lives we can close the doors and let Rock ‘No Roll do the talking” he ain’t wrong there.
A sold-out Limelight sees the return of BSR and looking around the crowd you have an eclectic mix of people from the old school Thin Lizzy era fans to the new age BSR fan base who are rebelling in seeing the guys in the raw in Belfast. This is the first outing for many for the new material off Another State Of Grace and it’s going down well with the Belfast crowd, fusing beautifully with their earlier material BSR are on fire and the guys are enjoying every minute of it on that stage as they grin like Cheshire cats.
For many the likes of Gorham on guitar is like heaven, bringing back the glory days of early Irish rock with the likes of Lizzy at their height and hearing those harmonizing guitar lines just feels like home. Warwick on vocals brings a fresh and contemporary feel to proceedings with a gnarly style and that commanding stage presence give BSR the bite they need as he ditches his guitar for the mic and takes it to another level.
BSR are now four studio albums in, highly accomplished and standing on their own two feet as a band distancing themselves from the early Thin Lizzy badge and are well established in their own right as a kick-ass rock band of their own, old school values on display, as a live band their an entity all to themselves that remind you of heydays of rock of old, and it feels good. That’s worth the ticket price alone.
Review by Mark McGrogan — Rock n Load Mag
Photography by Darren Mcveigh