Live Review: Blackberry Smoke w/ Aaron Keylock @ O2 ABC, Glasgow (16th October)

Words: Justin Hulford.

We arrived as Keylock was just starting and he offered a strong support. His guitar play was pretty cool from the outset, sitting on well-presented if simple bass. I’m not entirely convinced that his vocal is quite right for every song but then you would expect a sixteen year old to mature and develop.

Yes, a sixteen year old.

It’s pretty impressive to see someone so young wooing a pretty big crowd in somewhere like Glasgow, even if he is thinner than a pipe cleaner that’s on a diet. But if this is anything to go by, he is definitely one for the future. An impressive start as he offered up his own take on early 70s sounds from the likes of Bolan, Gallagher and Hoople although the three piece could do with a little more depth.

I saw Blackberry Smoke earlier in the year. Hailing from Atlanta, and yes you could easily guess, they bring the deep South vibe into the modern era. Last time out they were technically great but I wasn’t blown away by the show. That crowd had been quite old but this time it was different, they were heavier from the start, and all the better for it.

Photo Credit: Blackberry Smoke.

Photo Credit: Blackberry Smoke.

Most of this would have been the same material but the show was so much more obvious. They fairly rattled through a host of recognisable tracks and nearly kept the momentum the whole time. They did pick a couple with slower passages and frankly lost me for a bit, but soon were back on the pedal. Aided by strong sound they had the crowd in their hands.

It’s odd really that this band is just making it in the UK. They had their debut album in 2004 and have supported the likes of ZZ Top and Skynrd but I suppose it shows the benefit of some backing from the likes of Planet Rock, one of many artists to gain from that source.

Add to that an assured deep South vibe, very fine guitar work and songs with some good depth and it starts to stack. I went in hoping it would be better than last time and it sure was!

I do have to say my fave was a cover of “When The Levee Breaks” but nearly all their material contains enough luxurious guitar drools to keep you listening. And oddly I quite like their short sharp sets that last one and a half hours including encore.

Here’s a band on the up despite being a little older than most breaking acts and should be a must see for anyone who wants a rocked up night of Southern blues.


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