Blackberry Smoke rolls into Upstate Concert Hall

Blackberry Smoke tells everyone that they are too country for rock and to rock for country, and that was on full display Saturday night as they tore up the Upstate Concert Hall. Lead vocalist and guitarist Charlie Starr, Bassist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner, guitarist Paul Jackson and Brandon Still on keyboards ripped through a set that contained songs from their long 16-year career.

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Capping off a weekend of headlining shows after opening up for the legendary Govt. Mule all summer Blackberry Smoke proved to everyone in attendance that they deserve to be in a headlining spot. They are one of the tightest live bands this writer has seen with everyone on the band playing off of and complimenting each other to the fullest. Blackberry Smoke seamlessly blends Southern Rock, Country, Hard Rock and Jam music into their own style and they did it to near perfection. Starr’s vocals live are just as smooth as they are on a recording.

Mid-way through the show there was a distinct sticky smell in the air near the front of the stage which led to Charlie Starr to make a new impromptu song which he called “Front Row Reefer”, which was basically an ode to the best reefer being in the front of the house and the skunk was in the back. After riffing on the new song he asked the crowd if anyone got that on video. Maybe the cut will make the next album.

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Blackberry Smoke play their music their way and have not changed that thinking over their long career, and it now seems people are finally starting to take notice. They have gone from a bar band to a band that is capable of headlining arenas, and this writer for one hopes that more people take the time to listen to them and appreciate one of the truly great modern bands that is keeping the rock and roll spirit alive.

Opening the show was Philadelphia’s Stolen Rhodes whose brand of Southern rock got the packed crowd heated up.

Blackberry Smoke are on tour supporting their upcoming new release “Like an Arrow” which is slated to be released on October 14, 2016.

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