Derek Sherinian may be the least well known member of BCC to the casual listener or fan. The keyboardist has 10 albums of his own under his belt, and a resume that includes Dream Theater, Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, KISS, Al DiMeola, and practically every major rock guitarist of the last 20 years. On BCC's first record, many fans complained that the keyboards were under-utilized, and under mixed. This has been more than rectified on the band's new album, which is out this week and garnering near unanimous rave reviews. The record heavily features Sherinian's awesome skills at both playing and arranging. On stage, Sherinian is as loud as Joe and Glenn, and actually has the only unaccompanied solo of the show, which was loud, dynamic, and allowed Sherinian to flex his musical muscle.
"On the stage, I am fearless. This isn't arrogance, or ego, I'm like anyone else - I have fears all day long. But they disappear the moment I walk on stage."
Guitarist Joe Bonamassa continues to evolve before the public eye. In his role here as axe star and occasional vocalist, the six stringer seems to relish the role of full time rock guitar hero. His solos are incendiary and masterful in their technical wizardry, but for me, where he is shining the most is in his sophisticated rhythm work, his single string song signatures, and his writing. His composition, The Battle For Hadrian's Wall, off the band's new album is a great example, as Joe switches seamlessly between the necks of his custom Music Man Doubleneck 6/12. This song has it all, and a great vocal from Joe as well.
Jason Bonham does not dodge Bonamassa and Hughes's effusive praise, either. The axeman reckons that the drum gods are smiling down upon him - he has the thunderous Tal Bergman in his solo band, and now has Bonham playing the best drums of his career in BCC. He drives the band mightily from behind his see-through yellow DW drum kit, and acts as a constant cheerleader for the band. Smiles are not off the faces of this bunch for long - they know what they are, and how good they sound. All ready, arrangements are stretching out as the band begins to gel.
There are other highlights throughout the show, with tunes such as Cold, or One Last Soul that are sure to become BCC classics, but I'll let you discover them for yourself. A wealth of quality clips have shown up on Youtube this week, and should sufficiently wet your whistles.
Everyone in Black Country Communion is at the top of their game, and with two excellent albums under their belt they are primed to make the world of hard rock their own. Producer Kevin Shirley was right, "This band is viral."
This was one of the best hard rock shows I have ever seen, and judging from the enthusiastic response from the packed house, I'm not alone in that opinion. The band still has three shows in the Eastern US before heading off to 25 shows in Europe, including that prestigious High Voltage Festival in London, England on July 24th. God bless Black Country Communion.
Live at last. I first wrote about Black Country Communion before a note had been recorded. I spoke with Glenn Hughes before a single note had been sung. I reviewed the first record first, and am now more convinced than ever that indeed BCC may well be the most exciting and important thing to happen to real rock music in the last twenty years.
All photos provided by Libby Sokolowski.