When BlackWolf announced they were doing a small tour and Fire Red Empress were supporting them, I knew that I had to catch them on one of their dates around the country. Unable to make either Oxford or London this left just Bristol as the only chance to catch them live, even though it was the furthest away of all their dates in the south of the country. Being at The Exchange it also meant I didn’t have to find my way around much of Bristol, a city I haven’t visited for almost 30 years and even though it was a 250 mile trip, it was certainly worth it to see both bands play live.
When I had previously written about Fire Red Empress, I had described them as slightly enigmatic but singer Nik Taylor-Stoakes was anything but that tonight as he engaged with the crowd. Full of charisma, we were given more of an insight into what this band are all about and he even at one point thanked the crowd for coming out to see them even though they were the support, a nice touch.
Starting the set with their recent much played song Left Unspoken, it set the tone for the rest of their set which was energetic throughout, huge riffs full of rock, pounding drums, a tight bass line and of course those epic rock vocals sounded as brilliant live as they do on the EP. It was a mixture of songs, some more unknown like Swear It, Paint Me The Devil and Behind The Veil also from the EP and a new song The Hitman which is the opening track on the yet untitled album due for release in the new year. Fire Red Empress were more than impressive as the support band, this is a band that is only going to gain a lot more attention and can only go onto bigger and better things judging just how brilliant their set sounded.
BlackWolf playing a home town gig was always going to be just that little bit more special. Although there is still the London date to go, both the band and the crowd seemed equally excited to be at this gig and howls from the crowd could be heard throughout the entire set in support of the band. Also starting their set off with a recently played song featured on Planet Rock, Moving Mountains was a great opening song choice as the crowd were instantly fired up and ready to rock. The set was mostly from their excellent album The Hunt including Black Hole Friend, Faith In Me, Relief and Sea Of Mercy, all of which was edgy guitar riffs, the rhythm thumping through the speakers and the vocals of Scott Sharp soaring melodically, the band put on one hell of a live performance.
The crowd loving every minute of it were not just there to listen though as BlackWolf wanted to create a special Exchange live version of House Of The Emerald Wine, getting the crowd to sing along before the rest of the band came in to play this brilliant rock track and one of my personal favourites from The Hunt album. Included in the set was a new song which will feature on their new album as a follow up to The Hunt which sounded epic and gave a taste of what to expect from BlackWolf . They also included was their latest single Kiss The Fire which has been recently featured in Classic Rock Magazine and is due for release in the next few weeks. With more howls as they thanked the audience for turning up (who would want to miss such a brilliant evening of rock) it was once again the turn of the crowd to start the final song of the evening off, with whoa’s reverberating round the venue, Mr Maker ended the gig for the evening.
Not content with taking a picture of the band in front of the audience from the stage, BlackWolf also had to make it just that bit more special for everyone there by joining the crowd at their level whilst photos were taken to the delight from everyone there.
Both bands tonight were the epitome of what rock music should be all about and why fans need to go and support live music and not just follow them. BlackWolf and Fire Red Empress are the future of rock music and I was glad I made the road trip to go and see them.