Black Star Riders + Blues Pills + Tax The Heat @ Wulfrun Hall – Wednesday 8 November 2017


Some five years and three studio albums behind them and Black Star Riders are now a firmly established act with 2017 arguably having been their most successful year so far with Heavy Fire debuting inside the Top 10 of the UK Album Chart. That said, the Wulfrun is by no means at full capacity in what is a busy time of year on the rock gig calendar.

Tax The Heat
Tax The Heat

High energy quartet Tax The Heat have been around for a few years now with their quirky blend of metal-tinged, hard-edged blues and they get a decent enough reaction from the audience. With an old school feel based around groovy guitars and pumped up choruses they are well suited as an opening act on a tour such as this or on the festival circuit. Whether they can get that all important breakthrough moment to allow them to step up to headliner status remains to be seen but they do offer something a little bit different.

Blues Pills
Blues Pills

Swedish based retro-rockers Blues Pills have the magical ingredient of Elin Larsson’s golden voice that marks them out as something quite special. Opening with arguably their best song in ‘Lady In Gold’ it is evident that Larsson also has a fantastic stage presence that sees her jumping away like a manic jack-in-a-box. Technically gifted young guitarist Dorian Sorriaux also makes a strong impression with his well-crafted and flamboyant style and they succeed in recapturing the spirit of the late 60’s West Coast vibe. And with Larsson having drawn favourable comparisons with Grace Slick amongst others the cover of the Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’ is delivered to perfection.

Compared to the some of the other venues we now have around the Midlands, Wulfrun Hall now appears horribly dated both in terms of facilities and sound quality which are both sadly lacking. As is customary with headliners the volume is cranked way up for Black Star Riders and the limitations of the venue are all too apparent. Louder does not always equal better. It’s unfortunate as the performance is all that we come to expect from BSR as they immediately hit their stride with ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’. Ricky Warwick remains a fierce and furious frontman and when flanked by Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson they make for an impressive trio.

Black Star Riders
Black Star Riders

Given where they came from there will always be a place for a couple of Lizzy songs in a BSR show and the mid-set ‘Jailbreak’ and closing ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ are always welcome live favourites. But with Heavy Fire offering up their strongest set of original songs to date the set is firmly built around the likes of ‘Testify or Say Goodbye’, ‘Dancing with the Wrong Girl’ and ‘When the Night Comes In’, high octane rockers that each packs a punch. There is no question that BSR are a terrific live band and with the benefit of a much clearer and crisper sound from the PA this could have been a really terrific gig as opposed to merely a good one.

Set List:-

All Hell Breaks Loose
Finest Hour
Heavy Fire
Testify or Say Goodbye
Before the War
Dancing With the Wrong Girl
Hey Judas
When the Night Comes In
Cold War Love
Ticket to Rise
The Killer Instinct
Kingdom of the Lost
Bound for Glory
Whiskey in the Jar