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Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

Black Country Communion – Live in Loket, Czech Republic

Black Country Communion in Loket: L-R: Derek Sherinian, Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa

We’d decided to go to the Czech Republic for a week, in order to take in the wonderful city of Prague, whilst planning our main reason for the trip – seeing BCC on our last but one evening in the country, in the beautiful town of Loket. Most of the time, we enjoyed sunny weather, but perhaps we should have heeded the early warnings when we had to shelter in a bar in Prague from an amazing lightning storm and torrential downpour, preventing us from watching an outdoor concert in the Old Town Square.

Derek, Glenn & Joe soundcheck before the deluge. Jason is getting an Ice-cream. (See below)

I think he got one of the fans to hold his ice-cream while he signed.........

Nevertheless, Sunday came in Loket, the sun shone, the trucks moved in and erected the sound stage, PA and lighting, and all looked fine for an amazing night in the riverside amphitheatre, with the impressive Loket castle as the backdrop, looming large on its gigantic rock. We’d already been here for several days, getting the feel of the town, exploring the area and waiting for BCC to arrive.

Couldn't resist it....on stage in Loket the day before the show.

Loket has seen its fair share of celebrities – Daniel Craig was here in ‘Casino Royale‘ when Loket doubled for Montenegro. In the cafe scene, you can see our hotel in the background!   The Hotel (in real life) is called Hotel Goethe – a nod to the famous German poet who stayed here back in the day.

During the day, we wandered around this ‘fairytale village’ (to quote Harry from ‘In Bruges’!!) – and managed to say hi to Joe Bonamassa, and get a photo with him, and also chat with keyboard virtuoso Derek Sherinian, who happened to be at the next table while we ate perhaps the best apfelstrudel of our lives! (I recommended he try it  🙂  )

With Joe in Loket on the afternoon of the gig

It might have been Goethe’s town in his day, but it was rock’s poets on display tonight…….and no sooner had we taken our place in front of the stage than the heavens opened, and it bucketed down. For the next four hours. Non stop. It rained for  Radim Hladik and his (very good) band Blue Effect, and it rained for Black Country Communion.

"How are you feeling out there?!" shouted Glenn. "Wet," I replied, truthfully.

Glenn strode out….”I-I-I-I am a messenger!”  – and off we went.  He gave a heartfelt apology for the rain we were suffering under – and we were suffering – but this band simply dispelled any thoughts of personal health and safety as they transported me back in time to a…er….time when music was just stupendous. Thanks to this band, it is again, and those short-sighted critics and lazy journalists that dismiss this band as merely re-hashed Deep Purple are missing the point by a country mile. This band is a MODERN rock band, drawing on all that’s good from the past – the musicianship, the energy, the spontaneity……and….. whisper it quietly in the corridors of corporate radio, for it is a dirty word: ROCK.

Glenn Hughes owned the stage, an ethereal wraith spitting out amazing vocals and meandering bass lines in equal measure. Joe strode out into the downpour, precariously hardwired into his pedal board, soloing like a demon, and then theatrically wiping down his guitar with a towel, flinging it away with a flourish (the towel, not the guitar) bringing huge grins from the rest of the band, and cheers from the sodden audience.

Joe does his thing

The smiles exchanged between these guys onstage as they moved effortlessly between songs that are destined to become modern classics (I reckon BCC have about five of ’em already and counting) said everything about how good they feel doing this, and about how good it really is. And believe me when i tell you as a student of rock all my life and a professional bassist and singer of 33 years standing: THIS IS THE GOOD SHIT.  I hope they make more albums. I stood there in the rain, probably caught pneumonia. And for this band, I’d do it again.

Somebody was kindly filming from the rear, just look at this amazing setting! We’re stood front row, just in line with Joe’s monitors. You can’t miss us, we’re piss wet through and hooded. 🙂

Kev Moore

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I don’t do reviews, but……….BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION 2 – Rock’s Salvation?

Most reviews about this band start with the deconstruction of the “Supergroup” tag, and how groups either succeed or fail to live up to it. I’ll try and avoid that.  What Black Country Communion are is four musicians operating at the top of their game, but more importantly, producing something that transcends the sum of their parts. I suppose, if ever there was to be a definitive criteria for being labelled a Supergroup, then that is it.

What also sets this band, and this second album, apart from virtually anything else in the marketplace is the sheer quality and craft in the songwriting. No album fillers here. An album that clocks in around the hour mark and has not outstayed its welcome.  Beautiful counterpoint between the ballads and the rockers, between Bonamassa’s and Hughes’ voices, which compliment each other perfectly.  I read that producer Kevin Shirley had sought to capture the classic ‘Bonham’ sound through Bonzo’s lad, and he’s achieved that in spades. The drums are simply majestic, striding through the album like a colossus, the son honouring the father with feel and skill, and, as if you could ever doubt it, power.

But perhaps the most pleasing thing is the gradual emergence of Derek Sherinian’s keyboards. Heralding the great days of 70’s rock, he brings so much to this album. Never overbearing, always underpinning, and then sweeping into a solo off the back of Bonamassa, or growling along down and dirty with Hughes’ bass lines. Ah…the man’s bass lines!! If Glenn suffers from anything , it’s in having such an amazing voice that his bass playing is often overlooked. But you’ll not hear a better exponent of the craft, and his work on this album is stunning, whether it be driving “Man in the Middle” relentlessly, or the glorious weaving lines beneath Joe’s guitar in “The battle for Hadrian’s wall.”

A producer’s role is often a thankless one, at best misunderstood, or perhaps the fall guy if the project goes belly-up. But Kevin Shirley deserves huge praise, not just for his work in the studio, but for his vision in seeing immediately just what huge potential these four guys had collectively. His love and deep understanding of the genre is evident in his remix of Deep Purple’s “Come taste the band.”

You may have noticed I’ve hardly mentioned the tracks by name. It is because this is a bona fide body of work. There is no weak point on this album. The joy is to be derived from listening to it as a whole, almost unheard of in our 3 minute MTV short-attention-span culture, but the grace with which ‘2’ moves between Man in the middle, Hadrian’s Wall and Save me,  for example elevates this album from a mere collection of songs. It is a masterful body of work from four men who inspire each other to new heights.  It’s on in the car right now, every day, and I’ll be travelling with my partner Miki, who created the painting at the top of this article, to see them live in the Czech Republic in July. Come on!

(Just click on the portrait to visit Miki’s site and read about her thoughts on BCC and to order a print)

Kev Moore

June 11, 2011 Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment