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Tuesday 11 March 2014

Another Point Of View: Crowbar (Review By Paul)

Crowbar – The Garage, London

Hang The Bastard

I arrived too late to see openers Dripback but was in time to catch London based sludge outfit Hang The Bastard put in a 30 minute set which whilst mildly entertaining and certainly well received by the very healthy crowd did little for me. The band are tight with the low keyed down tuning sludge and stoner delivery that you would have expected on this bill. However, despite being a man mountain in size, vocalist Tomas Hubbard's delivery was pretty uninspiring. Little to no variation in pitch or style, and a general screech which made the actual lyrics indecipherable. After 20 minutes of this it all blurred into the same thing and I found my attention wandering. The rest of the band in a decent shift with energy from bassist Joe Nally the highlight (including some backing vocals) but I can't say I'd go and see them again. 5/10


The Garage was close to capacity for New Orleans sludge legends Crowbar. No intro tape required with these guys. Straight onto the stage with the intimidating founder and all round hero Kirk Windstein announcing “we've got good news and bad news”. “The good news is that we are Crowbar from New Orleans, the bad news is that we’re going to kick your ass”. And with that they launched straight into the brutal Conquering. As heavy as a troop of elephants dancing on your head in lead boots, Crowbar certainly don’t mess around. Windstein handles the front of stage with ease, the brooding heavy passages interspersed with the faster punky hardcore elements synonymous with the sludge and stoner movement. High Rate Extinction followed, one of three tracks from their self-titled album.  News of a new album were greeted with cheers from the crowd, although no new tracks were given an airing on the night. However, several tracks from Sever The Wicked Hand, their last ball crusher were spread through the set including the title track which was so heavy that I thought my liver had burst. A return to the debut album Obedience Through Suffering produced the rarely heard Vacuum, a mighty slab of sludge which in keeping with the rest of the evening, crashed through the floor. Whilst there is little in the way of guitar solos with this genre, Windstein and Matthew Brunson ensure that you are fully aware that they can play, laying down riff after riff whilst maintaining the low keyed tuned down delivery. Don’t think it’s all slow mind, as there are passages within several tracks that incite serious pit action. A devastating Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth continued the aural assault, new boy Jeff Golden on bass keeping momentum and drive and linking well with drummer Tommy Buckley who was smacking seven shades out of the kit. This was a well-paced set with a steady increase in tempo leading to a climax of Cemetery Angels and set closer Let Me Mourn which was massively appreciated by the crowd who were roaring their approval from early in the set. Windstein referred to the band’s forthcoming appearance at BOA with some relish and promised a couple of new tracks in the set. It should be a good one if it is anything like this performance. 8/10

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