Blck Strs
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Blck Strs

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Blues Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Black Stars: Substance and Style"

When it comes to music, I’ve always been a substance over style kind of person. Black Stars seem to be the kind of band that is intent on providing both. I stopped in at The Fire located in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve to catch this set at the insistence of a friend who assured me I would like this band, and my friend was right. I see only a handful of shows during a year that exceed my expectations, and I am delighted to say that this show was one of them, in large part because of the enthusiasm and personality exuded by the Black Stars.

Style-wise, the backdrop is pretty simple — vocals, two guitars, bass and drums. Yet what these guys do with those ordinary resources in a short set was pretty amazing — liberal audience interaction, incredibly catchy funk-inspired melodies and a clamorous wall of sound unfolded around the sheer personality of the band, especially lead singer Nik Greeley. Greeley was happy to be there — he was genuinely enthusiastic about the other bands playing, he was respectful and considerate of his own band members and made sure everyone got recognition and the spotlight, and he was thrilled to be working and entertaining the crowd on New Year’s Eve. So many local bands seem to work hard to be distant and cool, and their attempts to maintain their distance give the audience a powerful reason to emulate that coolness and to start texting their friends mid-show. Greeley’s upbeat, almost dog-like enthusiasm was contagious — the band exuded pure positive energy and brought the crowd along, their smartphones being used only to snap photos.

Substantively, this band knows how to write music and how to play it. The band whipped through a short but intense set featuring bursts of controlled chaos. Bass player Josh Freshy and drummer Mati Shernof established their ability to manage the exuberant Greeley on the sexy, tight and inspired “Sex in E Minor.” Lead guitar player Chester Drago (if it is real, that is an awesome rock name isn’t it?) was perhaps the most personally contained of the band’s performers, but also maybe the bravest — he wasn’t afraid to venture right out to the edge of where it is safe to play, powering along a guitar solo in the original song “Slick” that could have easily spun out of control. It was fun to witness the serious Drago rip through his solo while Greeley watched it as if he were seeing it for the first time — playing rhythm to support it, loving every minute of it, soaking it in to inspire his uninhibited growling pounce back on the vocals when his turn came. These guys are good musicians and they clearly enjoy playing together in a supportive manner without a lot of interfering ego, and that combination is unusual, electric and compelling.

From what I can find out, this band has been together about a year and they’ve already played some of the serious listening rooms in Philadelphia — for such a new band, they’ve played an impressive lineup of shows — they’ve been at the Trocadero, the North Star Bar, the Grape Room, the Fire (for this show) and they have upcoming shows at The Legendary Dobbs, the M Room and World Cafe Live. They don’t have a lot of recorded material (an early 4 song EP is available but the sound doesn’t really capture the live zeigeist adequately). Black Stars are proof that rock music is fun. Now is the time to catch this band at a live show — they are young and raw, and loud, and electrifying, and a little insane, and probably only going to get more popular. I think they are a band to keep an eye on. I hope they can manage to capture the magic of the live show when they decide to next record. - S.B. Hider

"CONCERT RECAP: Black Stars @ Yard’s Brewery, Philadelphia, PA 11/21/12"

Philly locals Black Stars are not the kind of band you expect to stumble upon at a craft brewery. The Philly four piece has been steadily gathering buzz around town in the wake of high energy shows, and their Thanksgiving Eve show at Yards did not disappoint. With pints of delicious Yards brew in hand, the crowd quickly got on their feet as the band laid down a solid set of their original funkified rock songs, as well as some choice covers.

These young guns have a distinctive funk rock sound – think James Brown fronting Rage Against The Machine with Flea holding it down on bass. Each member of the band proved an integral part of this funk monster, keeping it tight while rocking out seemingly uninhibited. Charismatic frontman Nik Greeley barely took a breath as he weaved amongst his brothers onstage and lead the band into one barnburner after another, while guitarist Chester Drago stunned with virtuoso playing that slithered along melodically during verses and exploded suddenly in electrifying solos. Underneath it all, bassist Freshy and drummer Mike Keyack kept the rhythm pulsing and pounding. All of these elements combined to create a controlled chaos of sound the likes of which aren’t heard everyday.

Impressive playing aside, everyone knows the difference between a decent band and a great band is the songs. Luckily, Black Stars have the tunes to back up their chops. “Can’t Stop Me Now” had an unpredictable structure that took the audience on an auditory ride, while “Leave Me Alone” cruised along with riffs and howls that were both tasteful and interesting. The choice of covers let us know the band’s influences, and they nailed “Foxey Lady” and “The Ocean” while putting some extra funk into each of the songs to really own them.

An encore of “Bulls on Parade” allowed the band to take the gloves off and really explode into the raw energy they had been teasing throughout the performance. As the dust settled at the formerly quiet brewery, Nik Greeley wished us a Happy Thanksgiving and an invitation to come rock out again soon. It’s only a matter of time until Black Stars start appearing at festivals and heading out for extended tours. After a great show like the one at Yard’s, that time will undoubtedly be sooner than later.

Electric Sex
Can’t Stop Me Now
Leave Me Alone
Foxy Lady (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Sex In E
We Are Funky
The Ocean (Led Zeppelin)
Human Nature
Bulls On Parade (Rage Against the Machine) - Shane Colman

"Recap: Broad Street Music’s local showcase @ Milkboy"

I needed a solid 72 hours to reassemble my gray matter after my first time seeing Black Stars this past Thursday at Milkboy. The New Jersey-based quartet headlined a packed night of local music hosted by Broad Street Music Group—Philly’s latest tastemakers dedicated to bringing raw, undiscovered talent to our local music community.

Black Stars took the stage for their face-melting finale. It is torturous to form coherent thoughts to describe an experience specifically designed to free you from the burden of conscious thought. Black Stars make articulation particularly difficult with their non-stop, adrenaline-fueled, out of control and out of mind experience.

Without hesitation, I will declare Nik Greeley as the best frontman in Philadelphia. Greeley is a smooth criminal, a funk soul brother, and yet 100% punk rock. He’s simultaneously foxy and frightening as he leans over monitors to get as close as possible to his audience before throwing himself to the ground, announcing he wouldn’t stand up until we screamed louder. My camera was made for frontmen like him.

Guitarist Dre DiMura serves as the Keith to Greeley’s Mick, holding a wide stance as he sneers into the crowd. Dre’s a fucking rockstar and I’m not entirely convinced he’s actually human. As I watched Black Stars tear through their set, all I could think was, “I want to go to all of your shows, I want to follow you everywhere.”

Black Stars’ substantial set was over—with a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade,” no less—seemingly as soon as it started. While it’s cliché to say so, no words can truly do them justice—you must see for yourself. And when you do, be sure to have your wits about you before attempting to drive home. Don’t be like me and drive in the wrong direction down 11th street in a post-rock show stupor - Wendy McCardle

"Black Stars @ Milkboy."

A Black Stars show is like taking LSD with Jim Morrison in the middle of the desert – it’s an out-of-control, peace-loving rock ‘n’ roll trip that is hot to the touch.

The band didn’t shy away from tackling covers during their set at Milkboy last night. Greeley’s voice during “Foxy Lady” by Jimi Hendrix was some kind of cool seduction. Later, the crowd head-banged in approval as he roared through “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against the Machine.

Black Stars’ music might be stuck in a time warp but their early ‘70s sensibility clicks with Greeley’s effortless ability to entertain. They put on one hell of a show. - Megan Matuzak


Still working on that hot first release.



Black Stars has played the best rooms in Philadelphia, and have also the pleasure of sharing the stage with notable acts such as Bernie Worrell, Beware of Darkness, The Stone Foxes, Nicos Gun, Swift Technique, Early Ape, Bong Hits For Jesus, and many more. Black Stars has appeared live on Radio 104.5 and receive heavy airplay on regional radio stations such as 93.3 WMMR and 88.5 WXPN. In 2013 the band was named Artist of the Month by the Deli Magazine AND 93.3 WMMR respectively. The band was crowned champions of Had Rock Rising Philadelphia in 2014 and represented the City of Brotherly Love internationally. With a new EP and video set to drop this summer the band has no intention of slowing down. "Black Stars make articulation particularly difficult with their non-stop, adrenaline-fueled, out of control and out of mind experience. While it’s cliché to say so, no words can truly do them justice—you must see for yourself." 
This is an absolute must see band, come see why.

Band Members