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Bouchard Bros – 14th August 2022

Tonight sees the visit of rock royalty to the Queens Hall as The Bouchard Bros are the turn tonight, the brothers being the founding members of legendary American rockers Blue Oyster Cult. They also have recently released solo albums to push in the form of ‘American Rocker’ (Joe Bouchard) and ‘Imaginos II – Bombs Over Germany’ (Albert Bouchard) but of course, before all that there’s a support band to warm up proceedings.

And so, all the way from New Jersey we have Alt-Folk trio Cold Weather Company on their debut UK tour and having just released their fourth album ‘Coalescence’. The band line-up as acoustic guitars either side of keyboard, with lead vocals/songwriting by all three, Brian Curry, Jeff Petescia and Steve Shimchick. Soundwise the band layers the instruments alongside harmonies and songs that tend to paint pictures rather than pursuing a commercial vein, so top kudos for that although at times the lyrics seem to take second place to the instrumentation.

Their folk songs tip over into Americana as well, varying the sound and as a band they’re a decent act as a warm-up but not really my cup of tea I’m afraid. There are tables lined up in front of the stage so it’s definitely going to be one of those seated gigs, possibly a first for the venue!

For the tour, the boys are joined on stage by Joan Levy Hepburn (Joe’s wife) on guitar alongside Joe on semi-electric guitar and Albert on bass acoustic with all three contributing vocals, albeit backing ones in Joan’s casel. The idea tonight is to talk about and play songs spanning the brother’s solo/joint careers including, of course, those Blue Oyster Cult classics.

Thus the opening one-two bonds both artists and crowd immediately as BOC’s debut single ‘Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll’ originally sung by Albert and fellow single ‘Burnin’ For You’ from ‘Fire Of Unknown Origin’ constitute almost a perfect opening. A track from Albert’s solo career next in ‘Black Telescope’ and Joe’s new single ‘My Way Is The Highway’ is played, with both tracks keeping the standard high before a trio of Cult classics in ‘OD’d On Life Itself’, ‘The Red And The Black’ and ‘The Revenge Of Hell’ follows before Albert’s ‘Independence Day’ leads onto BOC’s ‘Astronomy’. ‘She’s A Legend’ is a bit of a detour as it involves a duet between Joe and Joan. More Cult with ‘Nosferatu’, ‘Career Of Evil’ and ‘Morning Final’ together with more tales of the brothers career including their band with Dennis Dunaway of the Alice Cooper Band called Blue Coupe. Which is the perfect intro to some Blue Coupe tunes in ‘You (Like Vampires)’ and ‘Angel’s Well’.

The band had been on stage for well over an hour by this and ended their set proper with possibly the best version of ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ I’ve ever heard with the trio blending their harmonies together perfectly, a stunning way to finish it must be said. Another classic to begin the encores with a brilliant acoustic version of ‘Godzilla’ leading into a nod to the UK with a cool version of ‘Ace Of Spades’ before the night finishes on a high with another classic in ‘Joan Crawford’. Yep, a night with a difference and a superb history lesson from two bonafide guests.


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