The heroes of the night BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION arrived on stage at Hammersmith in the midst of a bombardment of searchlights, a flurry of smoke & sirens and the beginning of ack-ack rhythms as the screeching Jericho trumpets on “Air Raid” fired up. Base-plates of pure agitated energy and concrete slabs of railway-sleeper sized rhythms were slammed out in this frantic, fizzing overture that set the standard for the remaining 120 minutes. But actually the evening wasn’t about war or plunder… No, the evening was about solidarity, companionship and integrity.
So, although “Sway” — from the new album — was dark and angular, it had benign motives and a sensitive conscience. And these themes prevailed throughout the evening. With Glenn’s impetuous vocal work and Derek’s boiling ferments, this number had the most determined and purposeful riff in rock and —midway through — we experienced that most dramatic of moments when treated to Joe’s first guitar break of the concert : a dynamic attack of blue arrows and pinnacles of fire.
“One Last Soul” had crushed finishes and apricot / violet textures. And this number demonstrated why Glenn is considered not only one of the most exciting live bass players in the world, but also an incredible singer. He’s Gillan/Hagar/Lee/Roth rolled into one. Maybe Glenn used too much repetitive and decadent echo, but who knows? He used his voice as an instrument, right? And what’s wrong with creating eclectic, echoplexed landscapes anyway — especially when they’re so evocative? Live, this number exceeded the recorded version big time! It had more twisted energy than a lively cobra trapped in a steam pot.
Sometimes we experienced the industrial smoke and grimy desolation of a gloomy industrial wasteland… even if we were safe inside the sumptuous Art Deco surroundings of the magnificent Gaumont Palace. But, then again, we never expect flashy Hollywood-style snazz and razzmatazz from Black Country Communion. Because these artists are the real-deal: They are indefatigable working men. They work with effort-filled bones, torn sinews and true sweat. So “Save Me” — with that supplicating chorus — had dark waves of latent muscular energy. It was a glorious beast, full of fibrous tissue and substance.
“Wanderlust” had fine, well-formed corsets of guitar-sound — with lingering, yet persistently firm piano — and Jason’s reliable rhythms. “Thank you for loving rock music... “ Glenn shouted. He told the story about how the band met, and even introduced Kevin Shirley (the fifth member). “Friendship goes a long way in music...” he yelled. “Strong ever last?” we wondered. “Music is the healer in life...” he explained. And the band, who came back together to create BCCIV, maybe prove the point.
Perhaps one of the most beloved numbers was “Song of Yesterday” — with that highly-embroidered riff and waves of Celtic nebulosity from Derek, who set the tone before the thud began. We loved the vocal exchanges between Glenn and Joe. This was thoughtful enough to pull out the fibers from an ogre’s heart, but had monster rhythms too — bass notes, hammered beats and burning guitar… it was not for the weak.
This London show was a lavish and generous celebration of life, music and friendship.
With incredibly passionate and profound guitar work by Bonamassa, magnesium strips of pure percussive energy from Bonham, dynamic pressure-plates of lucid sound from Sherinian and of course all led by the genius of rock ‘n’ roll himself — Glenn Hughes.
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION Hammersmith Show Report Jan 4th 2018
Words by @neilmach 2018 ©
Main Photo Credit: Eric Duvet
Intriguing, omnipresent & persistent — Read our BBCIV Review here: https://rawramp.me/2017/09