Black Ridge hosted their “Raw Power” CD Release Show at Next Door Café on Thursday, November 10th. A close friend (Bill from Build the Scene) suggested Jana (the boss of my fam, First Angel Media) and I attend, and he didn’t exactly have to twist our arms to make it happen. Anyone who has any experience with these guys absolutely adores them. A chance to see an amazing band with my amazing friends? Count me in!
My experience started before I even entered the venue. I’m usually unfashionably early, as a rule. I got there first, before doors, so I proceeded to stand outside awkwardly by myself. Soon, I was joined by a lovely woman with her son, who seemed even more excited than I was to get the party started. Dressed to the nines in Black Ridge apparel, she quickly introduced herself and proceeded to tell me how much the band meant to her. “They saved my life,” she said. I couldn’t understand what she meant by that at the time. She then showed me these beautiful buttons and necklaces she made for the band to distribute, all for free. I just thought wow, what kind of band has fans as dedicated as she is?
Once doors opened, I bounced inside and got to check out Next Door Café for the first time. I was really surprised and impressed with how cool this spot was. The stage was awesome, they had a big screen on the back wall to project band images and live stream and plenty of space (if you’re in a band, you feel this). Great lighting, great ambiance. It’s also directly connected to music store N Stuff Music. (Our friends bought a cymbal that night across the hall, what a one stop shop!) I will definitely hit this place up again.
After completion of soundcheck, I was immediately welcomed by the band and offered an array of goodies. They had donations of beers and snacks that were free to the attendees. Members of the band took it upon themselves to set out the snacks and hand out beverages. They were so gracious to all the guests that came in for the evening. I mean, these guys are rock stars, they didn’t need to do any of this. But they did, and you could tell how happy they were to do it. They appreciated every fan in that building. It was a humbling experience.
As the night went on, more and more people arrived. More and more of my friends (some who I expected, like my First Angel Media family) and others who were an amazing surprise! The town showed up on a Thursday for these guys! Finally, it was time to start the show. Grass Roots on The Rock Station 97.7 were there to announce the show and kick off the events. Those peeps are way cool, they’ve even played MY band on their station before. So, you better like ‘em!!
They opened up the show absolutely guns blazing with their hit, “Live Fast (And Leave a Good Looking Corpse)”. I’ve heard that song on Spotify, but I have NEVER heard it like this. The presence they have is unmatched, and I found myself screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs minutes into this performance. And I wasn’t alone, I had a sea of beautiful people behind me doing the same. Absolute total ROCK energy.
They kept the night rolling with a few more of their classics and fan-favorite covers. Big on audience participation, they set out a table of maracas, shakers, and other various noise-makers for the audience to pick up and play along. It was an absolute joy to see audience making their own music along with the band. There wasn’t a face without a smile in that joint, and there wasn’t a set of hips that wasn’t shaking.
In the middle of the set, while crowd energy was so high, they would have probably lost their minds over Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Paul G paused the show to talk to the audience. He stopped the show to talk about mental health. He spoke on his own struggles, and that he was able to get the help he needed, and things got better for him. Urged everyone in the audience to do whatever it takes to get the help they need and stressed that there is hope. All I could think of was my friend from the door before the show. I finally got it. He saved her life. I wonder how many other lives he saved by doing this same thing. And man, this is something I’ll personally think back on during my own struggles.
Well the time finally came for the newest CD release, “Raw Power”. Having already listened, been a fan, and written an article on the release, I thought I knew what I was walking into. Happily, I wasn’t at all prepared for what was coming at me. I genuinely could not have had more fun at a sold-out Wembley Stadium. The entire crowd was my new best friend, we all knew all the words, and we all were there to absolutely dance our butts off. I think that out of all the new tracks, my favorite song must be title track Raw Power. Black Ridge IS Raw Power. The whole country could run on their electricity. And I want to scream this song into the ether at the top of my lungs! Happily, I was in good company to do just that. We all had the time of our lives absolutely dancing the night away.
After the show, band and audience alike dripping with sweat, the guys were still so beyond thankful for everyone that cane out to support them. It made my whole heart explode. This is a group of people who is not only pursuing their passion but doing it for all the right reasons. I will forever be a Black Ridge fan. Perhaps, if you check them out, you will be as well.