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Burning the House Down: An Evening With Black Pistol Fire

We’re far from the gaudy lights and arena stage set ups tonight. Instead, everyone is crammed into the historic, ramshackle walls of Globe Hall; it’s underground rock and roll vibe the perfect venue for the raw, grittiness that is Black Pistol Fire.  And as sweat pours from Kevin McKeown’s lanky frame while fans grab at his legs and euphorically bang their hands against the stage to the heavy back beat of Eric Owen’s drums, I can’t help but think that this is where everyone who loves music should be. 

There’s a scene in the movie, Almost Famous, in which Lester Bang tells the young William Miller, “These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of the rock stars, and they will ruin rock and roll and strangle everything we love about it.” I think about that every time I review an album or live show such as tonight’s, but trust me, everything written about Black Pistol Fire is absolutely true. “Sleep on these guys at your own risk.” “…trail of scorched earth and melted minds.” “A power duo that can almost match the power and intensity of the massive rock sounds of the likes of Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac.” “Pure fire on stage.” And if you read my last write up, this Austin based duo is the epitome of everything that is great about rock music right now. Words are just words, however. Black Pistol Fire is a band you must still experience live to get the full impact of just how powerful they truly are.  And that’s on full display tonight as they pummel the crowd right from the start with Lost Cause off their recent album, Deadbeat Graffiti, and into the epic Hipster Shakes with Kevin singing, “Hey mama the way you roll that cone, oh see you cuppin’ and a rattlin’ those bones. C’mon down and do the hipster shake, someone let me out my cage!” They roll through covers of Fleetwood Mac’s, Oh Well, and Bob Dylan’s, Where You Been Before, then slow it down slightly with Blue Dream before belting out “I’m dead and gone, the way you do me wrong, and I’m dead and gone!” on Suffocation Blues. From that point, it’s a continued and total annihilation of the gritty, bluesy, rock and roll authenticity their fans scream for.

Within the hour and change onslaught, you can hear them draw inspiration from some of the greats that include Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Nirvana, and Led Zepplin, taking the very foundation the legends built, then molding it into their own sound, and finally unleashing it in an epic roar of rock fervor. That’s apparent as they constantly change gears throughout the rest of the set, grooving through Speak of the Devil, torching the stage with Drop the Needle, and then completely burn the house down with Run Rabbit Run. They hold nothing back, forever charging ahead and leave this place wanting more.  I’m saying it now, Black Pistol Fire is one of the best live acts in music today and it’s time you jump on board. There’s a reason why so many people are talking.




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