Those Damn Crows, Blind River & TAYN, The Patriot, Crumlin
It’s been hell of a year for all of the bands on this bill, with Those Damn Crows hitting new heights across the classic rock world. A number of high profile tours, the most recent as support to Skindred has seen their music played with regularity on Planet Rock. Further appearances at Planet Rockstock and main support to Stone Broken in the New Year suggest that the Bridgend boys will hit even greater popularity next year. However, it wasn’t them that Mrs H, the Ed and I were interested in. Nope, it was Blind River, who we saw at the same venue in June as support to Marco Mendoza (don’t worry, we didn’t watch that strutting cock).
We’ve described The Patriot MC before in these pages; suffice to say it was brilliant to return to this fabulous welcoming venue once more. A relaxed approach to timings saw doors at 8 but no bands hit the stage before 9. Opening act TAYN (8) were a pleasant discovery. The Cornwall four-piece play a doom soaked gothic tinged dark rock which was slightly out of kilter with the other bands but as their set developed the blues edge to their music came through more and more. Led by the enthusiastic Lucian on vocals, the band blasted their way through a number of songs which will hopefully surface in the near future as I’d really like to spend a bit of time listening to them. Bassist Darren threw ever increasingly hysterical shapes as the set progressed whilst I had hat envy over drummer Tats’ choice of headwear. TAYN were an impressive opening act who would be worth checking out again.
Whilst TAYN have some exciting potential, Guildford’s Blind River (10) are on a different level. This was the fourth time I’d seen the band and they are improving with ever show. Honing their craft with hard work and numerous gigs, the band are confident and have a swagger that never comes across as arrogant. Kicking off with Going Nowhere, the band quickly hit warp speed. Having released one of the albums of 2018, it was a joy to hear tracks such as Enter The Creature, Bonehouse and Peacemaker live once more. Led by the fabulous Harry Armstrong, the crowd swelled and the dancing increased in number and veracity. Sharp guitar work from Dan Edwards and Chris Charles is assured with this band and they showed their experience as the set developed. With a semi naked rhythm section attracting attention from many in the room, the set flew by and it was suddenly time for Can't Sleep Sober, an anthem that resonated with many in the room. The band have a support slot with Inglorious in the New Year; disappointingly they aren’t on the slot at Bristol but if you do get to see them, you certainly won’t be short changed. A superb band who deserve all the plaudits they are getting.
After that, it was a real challenge to maintain any interest in Those Damn Crows (7). The Bridgend boyos have worked exceptionally hard and have proved themselves the masters of self promotion. The number of shirts bearing their name in the packed venue is evidence of that . I just find them a little bland and after four numbers their songs were already blurring into one with their format too repetitive to maintain my interest. I remember being very impressed with the band at Hard Rock Hell a couple of years ago. They were raw and full of energy. Whilst that energy and hunger still remains, they have inevitably smoothed out their songs and their radio friendly hard rock just doesn’t do it anymore. Good luck to them though; another Welsh band that are breaking into the mainstream and I wish them every success. I’m unlikely to be there for the ride though.