Thin Lizzy Return as Black Star Riders, Live at 53 Degrees!

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Black Star Riders is the new name for the post-Phil-Lynott Thin Lizzy, and last week we were hugely excited to confirm them for a show at 53 Degrees.

Touring as Thin Lizzy for the last few years, with a set packed out with classics like 'Jailbreak', 'Whiskey In The Jar' and 'The Boys Are Back In Town', the band decided to head into the studio and record an all new album withnow seasoned vocalist Ricky Warwick taking the mic. Feeling it wouldn't be right to release the record under the Thin Lizzy name without Phil Lynott, the band were rebranded as Black Star Riders.

The album itself carries forward all the classic Lizzy hallmarks, whilst also giving the band a bold contemporary sheen. Live, the band still mix new tunes with their back catalogue of rock classics in explosive shows that are not to be missed. Check out this recent review from www.louderthanwar.com to find out more, and buy tickets for Black Star Riders HERE.

A few years ago revered guitarist Scott Gorham revived Thin Lizzy with a new line-up and then toured the globe with other classic rock luminaries including Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue. In similar vein to brickbats thrown at GNR's sole original member W. Axl Rose, Gorham and friends were criticised by purists who argued the name should be left in the archives. This contributed to the decision in 2012 to rebrand and relaunch as Black Star Riders with the intention of releasing new music. The band, featuring The Almighty's Ricky Warwick on vocals, recorded album "All Hell Breaks Loose" and went back on the road to promote it, keeping a number of Lizzy classics in the live set. Then it was over to the fans and media.

Back in his days with The Almighty, Belfast-born Ricky Warwick once roared on a track called "Welcome To Defiance". Black Star Riders display that same trait on their collective sleeves. The stage was hung with a backdrop featuring World War 2 style plane livery, complete with pin up girl. The icing on the caustic cake was the theme from "Tombstone" and Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp bellowing, "You tell ´┐Żem I'm coming! And hell is coming with me!"

Then there were the songs, the set based on the Riders' debut album "All Hell Breaks Loose" starting with the brooding title track. The sense of belligerent determination remained clear on other LP songs such as catchy single "Bound For Glory", "Before The War" and spiky "Hey Judas". Of course these were interspersed with Thin Lizzy classics and the two different eras melded well. As expected the audience went nuts for tunes including "Are You Ready?", "Jailbreak" and "Emerald" for which the stage was appropriately bathed in green light. Sometime California resident Warwick referred to his Celtic-ness on several occasions and it adds a certain poignancy knowing Phil Lynott's memory is being kept alive with help of a fellow Irishman, one who was and is a Thin Lizzy fanatic.

The other players, Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson on guitars, bassist Marco Mendoza and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso are all vastly experienced and lovingly recreated the classic sound. There was also palpable enthusiasm on their own new material with all of them joining in backing vocals during various songs.

The Western theme reappeared with main set closers and massive crowd-pleasers "Cowboy Song" and "The Boys Are Back In Town". There was also time for two more rousing sing-a-longs in the encore, "Whiskey In The Jar" and a cover of a cover, Bob Seger's "Rosalie". There were certainly no first night nerves from BSR, who had been touring Europe for a while already. In fact, they seemed slightly reluctant to pack in as Warwick led Freddie Mercury-style "Eh oh!" call and response and whirled his mic stand.

It is maybe obvious why the Riders picked the imagery and themes they have. In "Tombstone" a grizzled, middle-aged Sheriff is forced out of retirement and reunites with his deputies to settle scores. The circumstances are somewhat different, but the concept of relaunching into the world with points to prove is certainly there. These particular Riders are all guns blazing and will be razing towns across the UK and Ireland in the next few weeks. Catch them while you can.

Live review thanks to Nick Holmes, Louder Than War

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