Gig review: Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown and Halestorm at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Black Stone Cherry at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
Black Stone Cherry at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
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When three truly outstanding bands collaborate into one behemoth of a tour, well that doesn’t happen very often does it? Actually it just has. The Carnival of Madness tour smashed into Leeds this weekend featuring Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown and Halestorm; rock and roll at its finest.

Typically this would only happen for a festival but strategically this kind of multiple band co-headline is brilliant for stamping one’s authority in one’s marketplace or genre.

I have been a fan of all three bands for a number of years, each empowering its own style but hailing from a similar musical family tree. Bringing that Deep South blues rock to Leeds was just what was needed for a miserable Saturday of rain and gloom.

The show starts early, sadly I’m still in work and miss the support act, Highly Suspect. Halestorm are on stage first, Lizzy Hale is a powerhouse of a lady and an epic frontwoman. It’s a tidy set including tracks Apocalyptic, Freak Like Me and I Miss the Misery. First on can be tough but there was no way Halestorm were going to let the crowd down. They bulldozed their way, through tearing the arena into pieces.

Next up it’s Shinedown. Raptuous in their own right, they come on with Black Cadillac, with frontman Brent Smith brutally ramming his dulcet toned Jacksonville voice down every eat in the crowd. The hard rock four-piece shook Leeds arena like a cruise ship in a gale force storm, immersing the crowd with a wave of defined guitar licks from tracks such as Cut the Cord and Sound of Madness.

The final band of the night, Black Stone Cherry, have earned their slot as the ‘headline’ act. Vocalist and lead guitarist Chris Robertson is the epitome of a rock ’n’ roll singer. The guy is a genius. God, on is day off, must have combined the voices of artists such as Ronnie James Dio, Myles Kennedy and the like, put them into a little box and popped it into Robertson’s mouth. What comes out is just choral blues, soul, rock kind of mixture thing of singery goodness.

Shinedown at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Shinedown at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

In my opinion, BSC were the better band on the night. Something electricfying happened when they came on stage and the ante was upped considerably. With songs such as Me and Mary Jane, Blind Man and Blame it on the Boom b

Boom, this set was never going to be anything less than epic, but to include a cover version of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, well, they just had me at hello!

Halestorm at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Halestorm at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

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