The Blackfires Conquer Gramercy Theatre [3/24/12]
After crushing Fontana’s last month, this was a dramatic step up to a much larger venue. Touted as their “biggest and baddest show to date,” the 5-piece successfully elevated their game to new levels. Taking the stage at 11:30, the band immediately tapped into that strongly rhythmic dual guitar setup and tight drum backbeat, prompting dancing and headbanging in no time. With the group in full party mode, it was enigmatic lead singer Andrey “Cheggi” Chegodaev who was seemingly having the most fun.
And truly the sight to behold – a man so absolutely enraptured by each song, he gyrated menacingly and without pause. With long hair caked with sweat and guyliner, Chegodaev is the personification of rock band frontman; almost a throwback to a more glorious era of hard rock.
(Side note: He also wears the most peculiar chaps on the entire goddamn planet – bell bottomed, flannel plaid patches over large attention grabbing swatches, with assorted furs hanging from his belt.)
Their self described “Pirate Rock” sound (Cheggi also donned his signature pirate hat and cape for a bit during one song) combines a nice mix of Guns n Roses, Zeppelin, and a little bit of Black Sabbath. What they gained from this sonic familiarity was magnified by the apparent blues influences. In particular, the breakdown at the end of “Lost in Space” that juxtaposed a smoother jam with their punchier numbers. Moreover, that twin guitar dynamic certainly added a deeper dimension to a heavy bass and drum backbeat, which allowed for highly dance/mosh-able grooves. The gang also tore through songs “Whip and Lyre,” “Sea Shanty,” and closed the night with a torrid rendition of Zeppelin’s classic, “Rock and Roll.” Each band member fully did justice to Plant and the gang, while the overall climax of energy finished the night in fantastic fashion.
With a genuine, earnest hard-rock sound that has the polish and flair to excite any crowd, the Blackfires definitely are a must-see live act. For those looking for great new bands around NYC, these dudes absolutely need to be on your radar!
-Writeup by Benjy Tocker