BLACK STAR RIDERS AND ENUFF Z’NUFF PUT ON GREAT SHOW
Date: April 6, 2018
Venue: Arcada Theatre
Location: St. Charles, Illinois, USA
Reviewer: Jake Warkel
Photos: Jake Warkel
The Black Star Riders are currently on tour as the support group for Judas Priest but in between nights off with the heavy metal veterans, the Black Star Riders are playing full headlining sets in nearby towns and cities. On this night at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois, the Black Star Riders were taking the stage with opening act Enuff Z’Nuff. Originally from Blue Island, Illinois, Enuff Z’Nuff band member Chip Z’Nuff is the only original member left in the group. Not only is he still playing bass but he has taken the roll as lead vocalist for the band the past couple years now. Enuff Z’Nuff have had several MTV hits and 20 albums to their credit and still manage to carry on like most rock bands today.
Enuff Z’Nuff took the stage and Chip Z’Nuff was flamboyantly dressed as always and looked larger than life with his big ass glasses and large cap. The group started the night with the first single from the Strength album, “Baby Loves You” which is always a fan favorite and to most fans, one of their favorite songs from them. I’ve come accustomed to actually enjoying Chip being the lead singer now. Being from around Chicago myself, I have seen every line-up that has ever existed with these guys. The current line-up is tight and the band members work well with each other. It’s fun to watch for example Tory Stoffregen having fun throwing his guitar pick in the air from behind his back and catching it and continuing to play his guitar. It’s fun to me because musicians need to have fun while working. I hate stale performers just going through the motions looking not interested. Tory has also mastered swinging the guitar around his body, which to be honest, most guitarists can’t even do. Things like that are fun. Tory’s solo was great and following the solo, Chip did his thing where he plays Tory’s guitar while standing behind Tory during which time Tory enjoyed a drink while Chip played a blues style solo.
Birmingham England native Tony Fennell is a solid rhythm guitarist from Ultravox. He has written and recorded songs for shows with Disney, CBS, PBS, Nickelodeon and ABC. He has also written and produced songs and underscores for the movie King Of The Avenue. So Tony Fennell is one talented guy that enjoys playing guitar and enjoys interacting with the crowd. Daniel B. Hill, the local boy from Chicago, has been kicking it out for Enuff Z’Nuff for a few years now. He is a talented percussionist with skills quite a modest guy. Daniel seemingly enjoys playing the drums and meeting new people for Enuff Z’nuff.
Enuff Z’Nuff finished their set off with their two top songs of all-time — the MTV smash hits “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing.” For Enuff Z’Nuff, there appears to be no signs of slowing down. When you have a chance, go see Enuff Z’Nuff when they play a city near you.
Enuff Z’ Nuff’s setlist:
01. Baby Loves You
02. Kiss The Clown
03. Heaven And Hell
04. In The Groove
05. Guitar Solo
06. The Jean Genie (David Bowie cover)
07. Fly High Michelle
08. New Thing
Black Star Riders:
Black Star Riders opened with the double shot of “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” and “Before The War.” Unfortunately, most in the crowd seemed to be hearing these songs for the first time but hopefully not the last. I love these guys. They sound amazing, and to have so much talent on one stage is incredible. Robbie Crane is a solid bassist who can really deliver that drive. The additional backing vocals on the song “When The Night Comes In” from Damon Johnson and Robbie Crane are outstanding. The chemistry in this band is just so perfect. The energy and excitement from one to another draws each player to be the best. Ricky Warwick plays the rock frontman perfectly. He’s perfect in the lead role. The guitar duo of Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson have distinctive guitar harmonies that compliment each other so perfectly. The band as a whole just knows how to kick ass. Scott Gorham just kills it on the guitar just like he has for decades. I was glad to see him still rocking. Chad Szeliga is one solid time keeper. Between him and Robbie Crane, you can’t get much more solid of a rhythm section than that.
The sheer energy and stage presence that Warwick and company brought to the show was outstanding. The classic tunes “The Boys Are Back In Town,” “Whiskey In The Jar,” “Rosalie” and “Jailbreak” were injected with full of life and sounded fresh. Damon Johnson was giving a bit more attention to one little girl in the front row more than anyone else but that’s because it was his daughter. The joy I could see from Damon playing for, not only the fans, but to his daughter, meant a lot since these guys are away from their families quite a bit. Damon has been having his wife and daughter there on tour for some of the mid-west shows.
Black Star Riders released their third studio album, Heavy Fire, in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim. The album went on to gain worldwide chart success reaching #1 in the UK Rock and Indie charts, #3 in the UK Vinyl chart, #6 in the UK National chart, #11 in the German National chart, #6 in the USA Hard Rock chart, #22 USA Independent chart and #25 in the USA Rock chart. Hell, the band is in its fifth year and has three albums under its belt. The new album Heavy Fire is a great piece of work with killer tracks on it.
Hopefully the exposure that Black Star Riders gain on tour with Judas Priest will lead to a greater fan base for these guys here in America. I’m looking forward to see how they perform opening for Judas Priest here in a few days. I knew I had to see Black Star Riders as a headliner to see a full blown out show for nearly two hours rather than getting a glimpse of eight songs opening for Judas Priest.
The meet and greet after the show was really cool for the fans as they got to mingle with the band and actually have conversations with them as the fans were not cattle herded quickly threw a rushed line. Plenty of autographs were signed and selfies taken. At the end of the meet and greet, the tour manager had those fans that paid for the meet and greet line up for the actual band photo picture opportunity. The members of Black Star Riders, I must say, couldn’t have been more cool to these fans as they never felt rushed like most meet and greets. This band is the real deal. Go check these guys out, buy their music, and go see them in concert when they come to a city or town near you!
Black Star Riders’ setlist (as per setlist.fm):
01. All Hell Breaks Loose
02. Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover)
03. Finest Hour
04. Heavy Fire
05. Testify Or Say Goodbye
07. Before The War
08. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
09. Who Rides The Tiger
10. When The Night Comes In
11. Hey Judas
13. The Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy cover)
14. Ticket To Rise
16. The Killer Instinct
17. Kingdom Of The Lost
18. Bound For Glory
19. Whiskey In The Jar (cover)