What happened when Biters and Blackberry Smoke stormed London's Roundhouse
Venue: London's Roundhouse
Two US bands enjoying very different levels of success, yet each more than won over the audience with their own take on southern rock
The signs outside say Camden Town, but Atlanta is in the house tonight. Two bands from below the Mason-Dixon line with different approaches to this thing called rock’n’roll. In the red, white’n’blue corner: Blackberry Smoke, the only heirs-apparent to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern rock crown worth their weight in bourbon. In the ink-black corner: Biters, the bastard offspring of Cheap Trick and Joan Jett, with the battered leathers and bubblegum choruses to prove it.
Actually, there’s no Deep South throwdown here. Geography, Georgia twangs and a shared love of Tom Petty aren’t the only thing these two bands have in common. As with so many guitar – or in Blackberry Smoke’s case, geetar – bands today, it feels like they’re fighting a rearguard action against the pop masses. And if tonight’s show at this 3,500-capacity old North London train shed isn’t necessarily a decisive victory in that particular cultural war, then it at least shows there’s plenty of stubborn pugnacity left in rock’n’roll.