Black Star Riders rose from the remnants of Thin Lizzy and their desire to explore new creative avenues not under the shadow of the old band name. In the three years since their formation they have released two records, the good “All Hell Breaks Loose” and the great “The Killer Instinct” – both of which owe a stylistic debt to Thin Lizzy. Bringing us neatly to their performance on the Encore Stage at 6.25pm, drawing equally from both Black Star Riders albums and Thin Lizzy’s 70s output. As the emphatic ‘Bound For Glory’ and the dynamic ‘Jailbreak’ eases us in, you instantly conclude that in the heavily tattooed front man Ricky Warwick they have found the perfect partner for Scott Gorham’s jaunty axe attack.
As they volley their way through new and old material, from the moody title track ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ from their 2013 debut to their signature tune ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’, you see that they have found the perfect equilibrium between honouring the past and looking to the future. Their sublime performances of new favourites ‘Finest Hour’ and ‘The Killer Instinct’ illustrate this balance – both new, fresh and warmly familiar all at the same time. Ricky Warwick’s voice is smooth and just spot on, sharing a few mannerisms with the late, great Phil Lynott. The show ends, of course, with that old Irish folk song ‘Whiskey in the Jar’.
This was Black Star Riders second time at Download and they showed us just how catchy, harmonic and down right fun classic rock can be.
Photo Credit: Joe Okpako/Download 2015