Black Country Communion, High Voltage Main Stage, July 24 2011
This truncated version of BCC’s headline set – seen in all its glory across the UK this week – was more about how classic rock’s latest supergroup would contend with an early evening festival slot.
With music more suited to dark and sweaty theatres than light and airy London fields, creating the right atmosphere was always going to pose a challenge for this talented quartet. Or at least it should have done. Perhaps unsurprisingly BCC took everything in their stride, befitting their individual reputations as consummate professionals committed to delivering first class entertainment.
As anyone who saw Glenn Hughes and co. indoors this week will testify, this set suffered from an inferior sound. But then you don’t roll up at an outdoor event expecting glorious acoustics. With a light breeze and a mixing desk which had already accounted for Thunder’s Luke Morley the overall sound was patchy and, depending upon where you pitched up within Victoria Park, there were times when Derek Sherinian, in particular, was rendered impotent.
But where BCC were born to fire up festival crowds is in their collective ability to hit all the right notes at just the right time. It’s quite possible the majority of the massed ranks gazing upon the main stage had never heard a BCC track in their life but this set was compiled to perfection. With the pace changing almost as often as Hughes’ contorted facial expressions it was impossible to take your eyes off a band oozing class and confidence.
Such has been the classic rockers’ meteoric rise on the back of two cracking albums and a handful of live shows it’s quite likely they’ll be playing arenas in two years’ time. In front of a sizeable festival crowd they looked every inch the stadium rockers and, vitally, they have the music to switch on casual observers and die-hard fans (and there are more of those every week) alike.
You can’t beat experience and it seems you can’t beat the BCC experience. Hughes and Joe Bonamassa have already played both High Voltage festivals to date and the duo already have the look of permanent fixtures at this particular summer shindig. And that must have the organisers rubbing their hands with glee.