Review: Blackberry Smoke Combine Southern Rock, Country and More Into Fun Live Show [PICTURES]
There are a lot of great things about seeing Blackberry Smoke live: They're all stellar musicians. Their sound crew does an incredible job of mixing the show and making it sound really good. The crowd is varied, fun and involved in the concert. But perhaps the best part about seeing Blackberry Smoke live -- and Blackberry Smoke in general -- is that you're going to get a little bit of everything.
Southern rock? Check. Rock in general? Check (during this particular show, in the form of a quick Led Zeppelin cover woven into the middle of "Sleeping Dogs"). Blues? Check. Foot-stompin', hand-clappin', sing-a-long tunes? Check. The five-piece band touched on it all throughout their two-hour set on March 22 in Buffalo, N.Y.; if they had broken out a banjo, they would have pretty much covered all the country-ish bases.
"It’s all in what people find in it for themselves, I guess," lead singer and guitarist Charlie Starr tells The Boot of Blackberry Smoke's varied sound. "They find different things."
And whatever sound Blackberry Smoke dished out with each new song, the audience loved. "Rock and Roll Again," off their new, No. 1 Holding All the Roses album, got one of the first big cheers of the night, and they followed it up with "Good One Comin' On," one of the show's first big sing-a-longs.
The best one-two punch of the night, though, came when Starr picked up an acoustic guitar to play "Lay It All on Me" and "Ain't Got the Blues" back to back. The band amped up the former's fun melody and gave the song an especially lively feel, while the crowd took the lead on the latter, clapping their hands and stomping their feet, and prompting Starr to note, "Y'all sang the loudest of all the tour."
It's a treat to watch the Blackberry Smoke guys -- Starr, bassist Richard Turner, guitarist Paul Jackson, keyboard and organ player Brandon Still and drummer Brit Turner -- work their magic on their instruments, too. Their solos and mini-jam sessions got the crowd grooving, and it's fun to hear the extra flourishes they throw into the live versions of their songs.
Blackberry Smoke's set also included "One Horse Town," "Everybody Knows" ("a request from the front row," Starr said), "Holding All the Roses" and a foreboding version of "Too High," among others. Check out some photos from the show, below.
Blackberry Smoke's tour is scheduled to continue through June; a complete list of dates is available on their website.