Concert review: Blackberry Smoke at The Social in Orlando

As I turned off North Orange Street into a parking lot behind The Social, I was immediately struck by how empty everything seemed to be. I wrote this off to the early hour and held out hope that there would be a good turnout for Atlanta-based, southern rock outlaws Blackberry Smoke. For a town best known for boy bands, Britney Spears and the Mickey Mouse Club, it turns out that Orlando has a little redneck rock in her soul.

After an entertaining opening set by Orlando locals Dirt McCoy, Blackberry Smoke took the stage at approximately 11:00pm as a small, but loyal crowd of fans cheered. As BBS burned down song after song, the crowd got louder, drawing in people from the street. After only a few songs, The Social was nearly full and people were dancing around the sunken dance floor and singing along when they knew the words. Intertwined with the crowd noise, camera flashes popped continuously, reminding me of what a Beatles concert must have looked like.

Unfortunately, I was faced with a two-hour drive home and forced myself to leave around 12:15am. As I walked out, Blackberry Smoke was still rocking with the same energy level that opened the show more than an hour earlier and the fans showed no sign of fatigue or willingness to head home while BBS was still onstage. I don’t blame, I didn’t want to leave either.

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