BLACK DAWN – Alive and Well and Back on Stage – Concert Review/Video

_DSC0129 - CopyAfter a ten year hiatus between records Black Dawn is not only back on the scene with a new CD “Until We Meet” (released this autumn on the Australian label Blue Pie Records). Dropping a new record always requires getting the band on stage and on the road again and that’s just what Black Dawn has done.

They began the first night of their U.S. tour by kicking out the jams and opening for the former lead vocalist of The Misfits, Michael Graves, at Queens, New York’s ballistic ballroom, Blackthorn 51. As to be expected, the band not only blasted the ballroom with their trademark alternative molten metal sound, but they also minced no words.

“Hello everybody,” taunted vocalist and lead guitarist Matt Kotten, “we are Black Dawn and I hope you guys f**king like this sh*t!” He then lit into the intro guitar lick for the song “Upon Your Lips”, their opening number of the night and the lead off track from the new album. Following his lead the rest of the band jumped in with rhythm guitarist Tom Kelly adding a second layer to the riff being laid down prior to the opening verse, “I said the sky was falling/You never looked my way/I said my time was coming/You know I could not stay/The wind it whispers sweetly/The leaves they speak your name/And now my time is coming/Upon your lips I taste (I taste)”.

Taking the tempo down a notch or two they segued into another new song, “I Wanna Fly”, with bassist James Lane and drummer Enzo DiPaolo locking together to create a tightly knitted metal mesh for the rest of the group to work with. As the final bars of music came to a close the club’s smoke machine clouded the stage with a thick mist and a ’good times’ touch of nostalgia._DSC0090 - Copy

Drawing from their past catalogue they launched into “Reflect”, the premier piece from their 2004 record “Age of Reason”. The gears were grinding and the sweat was flowing now beneath the hot spot lights of Blackthorn 51 as the guys now jumped feet first back into another song from the current CD titled “Open the Gates”.

The next two offerings appeared to be from their yet to be released collection. “A Piece of Me Dies” and “Through These Eyes” are both slated to appear on an album still being recorded that they plan to drop sometime during the summer of 2015. My sources tell me that a title for the work in progress has not been announced so we’ll all just have to keep on guessing.

Wrapping up the set Black Dawn closed with “Pray For Me”, which coincidentally enough is also the closer on the “Until We Meet” CD. This fiery finale left no doubt in the audience’s mind that they weren’t seeing some cookie cutter prefab hair band, but a genuine tribe of true East Coast rockers.

_DSC0111 - CopyAs a reviewer of both live performances as well as recorded work I do have two minor criticisms I’d like to share with the band that I feel may be keeping them from a larger audience. My first suggestion for Black Dawn would be to cut down on the length of your instrumental introductions. It seems to just be taking the long way around to where we all know they’re going with a tune. The second is, in my humble opinion, you need to expand the time you allot for solos. So, my advice is to subtract from the aforementioned intros and add to the latter suggested elongated solos and the resulting formula for increasing your appeal to a wider audience is within your grasp.

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Author: Ralph White