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Black 'N Blue

Live in Portland, Oregon, March 2013

Review by Larry Toering

Whenever Black 'N Blue return to Portland, which is essentially their home town – even though two of them reside in L.A. – it's always a grand homecoming of sorts. It’s like a reunion for everyone. This was their first performance here since releasing their latest CD, entitled “Hell Yeah,”  so it was a blast to be treated to something from that CD, among what was a chock full set consisting of new and old classics. It was a very revitalizing experience to just find a spot in the venue and let the band blow the doors off.

What can be said about Jaime St. James is that his voice holds up extremely well, and on this night he was exceptional. His performance was brilliant. Also, the guitar playing of Jeff Warner was particularly awesome, as well as the bass playing of Patrick Young. Additionally, the performance by Pete Holmes on the drums was absolutely remarkable as usual. But it would be an insult not to mention the guitar playing and overall performance of guitarist Shawn Sonnenschein, who has proven to fit like a glove in the place of Tommy Thayer. Dressed in white, he stood out like a star on that stage, as much as the rest of them did. It was his performance that kept me mostly on my toes in what was just a hot crowded event.


Paul Brown
     

They began with “Guns Of Fire” and “The Strong Will Rock,” going straight into one of my favorites with “Stop The Lightning.” This had the crowd instantly rocking as they went on to play several killer versions of some of their best, and it was great to hear “Chains Around Heaven.” But it didn't stop there, as they proceeded to even surprise with a few choices, with tracks like “Autoblast” and a new classic to be, in the shape of  “Target.” By then it was well into the show and all there was left to do was take it all in as they went down the stretch. They lost no steam as they went, with such great tunes as “Miss Mystery,” “Live It Up” and of course “Hold Onto 18.” No Black 'N Blue show would be complete without that one. They even played “School Of Hard Knocks” and ended the show with the last encore “Violent Kid.” What a night it was.


Paul Brown
 
Paul Brown
   

As this band continues to tour lightly and are hopefully planning a follow up to the aforementioned Hell Yeah, I look forward to every last bit of what they have in store for the future, as they are back to stay one way or another. In this day and age you have to keep up or you can miss out on some of what can be a band's best times, really. This is one I will be following closely looking most forward to it. They deliver a maximum supreme show, no matter what the occasion, and this was no exception. There is nothing like the rhythm section of Pete Holmes and Patrick Young, combined with the glam and glory of a true rock star front man and the attack of these twin lead players who still prove they can rock with the best of them after all these years.


Paul Brown
 
Paul Brown
   
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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