Blackberry Smoke at The House of Blues – Boston

Photos and Review by Robert McDonald
Show photos HERE
Blackberry Smoke on tour to promote their latest album, Holding all the Roses, performed to a packed House of Blues in Boston on Friday night.
The night kicked of with a set of folk, gospel and blues songs by the one-man band, Leon Virgil Bowers.  He began sporting a Bohemian Motor Oil guitar, mixed it up later with an acoustic and all while firmly planted on a bass drum.
The second act, The Temperance Movement was a dramatic shift from the laid-back opening act and did it’s part to get the audience set up for the main attraction.  This band is fronted by one of the most distinctive front men I have seen in a while.   Glasgow-born vocalist Phil Campbell owns the stage with the spastic twitching of someone who seems to be, as my mother used to say, “on something”.  This would have been incredibly distracting if not for the simple fact the he has one of the most soulful voices in rock music.
The band’s blues-inspired sound reminded me of a mix of The Rolling Stone and Black Crowes.  For many, this was the first time they had either heard or seen the band, but they gained many new fans tonight, myself included.
A stage hand slowly walked across the stage waving a smoldering blackberry smudge stick before the headliners hit the stage to open the night with “Six Ways to Sunday”.  They followed that with “Let Me Help You (Find the Door)” and the honky-tonk “I’d be Lyin”.  The rest of their set was a mix of country twang, blues melodies, and authentic southern rock songs with catchy lyrics that spanned all 4 of their studio albums.
In what was an obvious homage to the Boston crowd, the first encore was a cover of Aerosmith’s “Chip Away the Stone” and they put an exclamation point on the night with an extended jam session of their ode to bad luck “Ain’t Much Left of Me”.   All in all the delivered a great night of music that both engaged and satisfied the crowd.

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