Sam Wood - Scott Gorham - Black Star Riders - Norwich - Photo: Steve Ritchie

Black Star Riders

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Celebrating their tenth anniversary, the February 2023 Black Star Riders tour saw a mix of veterans and new blood on the stage. The returns of rock god Scott Gorham and original drummer Jimmy DeGrasso joining frontman Ricky Warwick and long-standing bass player Robbie Crane but with new addition Sam Wood joining them on guitar.

I was covering the show for MetalTalk with Paul Monkhouse, who wrote, “the mix works incredibly well, and the ever-smiling Wood has fitted perfectly, his long hair and stinging, classy solos a delightful echo to his legendary bandmate.

“Still firing on all cylinders, Black Star Riders really have nothing to prove, but that doesn’t stop them from putting heart and soul into every show, and when they kick off the night with the explosive and muscular Pay Dirt, you just know it’s going to be a good night.”

It was a great night. You can read the MetalTalk report here.

“Can you believe 2023 is ten years of Black Star Riders,” Ricky Warwick said in June 2022. “How time flies while you are having fun. We decided to do something special to commemorate this occasion. For the UK tour only, to coincide with the album’s release, we will be bringing back the legendary Scott Gorham (guitar) and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums) for the dates to make them extra special.

“As we all know, the Worldwide pandemic has changed so many things in all our lives, and when we brought Christian Martucci into the fold in 2018, we had planned to work the BSR cycle in rotation with Christian’s Corey Taylor / Stone Sour gig so he could do both.

“The two-year break in live music has, unfortunately, put paid to this plan, and Christian has had to leave Black Star Riders to concentrate on his work with Corey. We wish him all the best, and he will forever remain part of the BSR family.”

KK Downing - KK's Steel Mill - November 2020

KK Downing – Back on stage in historic fashion

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The Steel Mill, fronted by KK Downing, has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. It is a superb music venue, full of atmosphere and history, and it is now a major Northern calling point for many bands on their UK tours.

And a packed audience was treated to something unique and wonderful.

The terrific Blaze Bayley opened the evening. Supported by members of Absolva and Iced Earth, Blaze was in top form indeed. His solo material is great, and finishing with two Maiden songs was the icing on the cake. This bodes very well for next year’s Burr Fest.

David Ellefson needs little introduction too. A founding member of Megadeth, Ellefson is crossing Europe promoting his solo album and new book. Mixing Megadeth classics with his solo material, it was a heavy set which was beautifully received.

But the night was about the re-emergence of The Heavy Metal Legend KK Downing.

Fourteen Tracks followed. From the opener, Riding On The Wind, through Beyond The Realms Of Death and Burn In Hell, to the explosive Before The Dawn, it was incredible how good the five-piece sounded. Tight as hell, the band totally smashed it. KK was on top explosive form, Ripper spectacular, Les beautifully solid, Ellefson thundering and AJ was a delight to hear.

Same again, please….?

Along with my photos, this was reviewed by MetalTalk – you can read their review here.