Blackberry Smoke - The Roundhouse, London (UK) - 28 March 2017
Blackberry Smoke have been slowly climbing up the musical ladder with each album release. When they last played London it was at The Forum, however, for this evening's offering it was the more prestigious (The) Roundhouse that played host to their blend of Rock and Country.
The band casually take to the stage, with lead singer and guitarist Charlie Starr (now minus the beard) kicking straight into 'Fire In The Hole' and the ultra-catchy 'Six Ways To Sunday'. With big smiles, they quickly delve into songs from the new release 'Like An Arrow', where 'Waiting For the Thunder' sits comfortably in the set alongside the more familiar songs.
During 'Up In Smoke', Starr thoughtfully stops the show to allow a girl who had collapsed at the front to be able to leave, he then wishes her well and jumps back into the song, much to the audience's approval.
There is a real sense of honesty to Blackberry Smoke's music and songs like 'One Horse Town' and 'Pretty Little Lie' resonate well with the audience, certainly most seem to know every word of the songs the band deliver tonight.
Bass player Richard Turner, a picture of cool complete with shades and cowboy hat, holds down a tight rhythm section with drummer Brit Turner. The real unsung hero for me is guitarist Paul Jackson, whose lead breaks are liquid gold throughout the night.
During a jam featuring 'Starship Trooper' and 'Your Time is Gonna Come', the lights hit a Psychedelic mode and they tap into an extended session that takes you back to the glory days of bands like The Grateful Dead and Neil Young. Throughout the tour, encores have featured classic cover songs. Tonight's little gem is The Rolling Stones' 'Street Fighting Man' which gets the entire venue dancing.
Blackberry Smoke really seemed to have arrived musically in Europe and they certainly found a loyal audience in London tonight.