Black Water County – Taking Chances album launch review

A new album launch by one of the best new bands around? We sent Russ Collins along to experience the mayhem

I was lucky enough to get to go and review the album launch for Black Water County’s latest album, “Taking Chances” at the famous Mr Kyps in Parkstone. Black Water County are a very young high octane, six piece English celtic folk/punk rock band who first emerged in 2013 with their debut track “Welcome to Black Water County”.  By the time the excellent three warm-up acts -  The Trav Cats, Chris Payn and Dapper Dan had finished their sets, it was soon apparent that Black Water County have a cult following with almost all tickets being sold and the remaining quota of 7 left on the door there was hardly room to move and a noticeably significant number of fans wearing Black Water county t-shirts, I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a merchandise stand at a gig of this type so busy before the gig had even started. I managed to park myself on the left hand side of the stage and was pretty much locked in there for the entire gig due to the venue being packed out to capacity.

Kicking off with the first track of the set “The Parsons Daughter” had the crowd jumping from the first beat, with a catchy ‘sing along’ cheeky lyric (look it up on youtube) it was a great way to start.  I was pretty much glued to the left hand side of the stage with my camera trying to sync shots with the entire room jumping, seamlessly leading into a banjo driven cover of the Pogue’s “Irish Rover” dominated with Tim’s beefy vocals and commanding presence and Shan’s energetic youthful vigour and dulcet tones and Gavin pummelling a seemingly indestructible banjo I had a sudden urge to down a bottle of vodka and hurl myself into the crowd – but luckily sense prevailed (or was it just that I didn’t have any vodka?)

You could be easily mistaken that the cast of ‘upstairs downstairs’ had just burst on to the stage with their period style dress. Combining this with six colourful personalities and a high octane performance style and strong influences from Flogging Molly, The Rumjacks, The Dreadnoughts, The Pogues and the Levellers what is there to not like about Blackwater County? They are all so young but have the musical prowess of artists way beyond their years – you really do have to see them perform to know what I mean.

Today was also the lead singer Shan’s 21st birthday and what a way for her to celebrate! The set continued with tracks Brandy and Green Ginger then straight into a track called Beer, which is especially brilliant and named after one of my favourite things ever followed by an introduction to the new album and thanks given to everyone involved with it then straight into ‘Start Something New’. A very motivating rocky song and so far my fave track from this new album, love the lyric ‘Its now or never, I’ve gotta start something new’ A good strong message which particularly resonates with me since starting gig photography, best thing I ever did.

Towards the latter half of the gig there was a Drum solo from the irrepressible Smooth, some crazy stage diving and the band got itchy feet and decided to go for a walk and found themselves in the middle of their swathes of sweaty, excited fans for some acoustic goodness and I apologise profusely for not knowing what song they were doing I could just about hear it from where I was however I did get some photos of the off stage antics! Audience participation is where it is at Black Water County as you’ll see for the encore where happy fans were invited on to the stage who were literally rolling around to closing tracks,  Black and Blue, seeing is believing culminating to that magical track ‘Loch Lomond’ I was sad it was the end of the gig but as I’d been boxed in at the front of the stage immediately took myself off to the nearest pub and drowned myself in some well deserved beer as the vibrant, heady alcoholic theme of the night had left me with a bit of a thirst on!

I urge you to take a look at the crowd photo’s in my gallery to see just how much you are missing out by NOT being at their next gig and have a look at the photo depicting how NOT to stage dive!  Note that these guys sell out so you’ll need to get on the case for tickets as soon as they go on sale.

Thanks Black Water County! See you next time!


Review by Russ Collins – Russ Collins Photography


Black Water County are :-

Shan Byrom - Lead Vocals & Tin Whistle
Tim Harris - Lead Vocals & Bassist
Gavin Coles - Banjo, Mandolin, &Guitar
Bradley Hutchings - Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocalist
Andy L Smooth - Drums & Percussion
Russell Scagell - Violin, Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocalist

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