LIVE REVIEW: Crowbar (Live Stream), 20/02/2021
Plenty of bands have been going all out for their live streams with full productions and light shows, and that is fine. But that is never what Crowbar have been about. The band excel at creating simply structured, well-crafted sludge metal anthems. Tonight, they have set themselves up in a local venue that looks more like a dive bar than anything and have put their music front and centre, as it should be.
Crowbar open with Self Inflicted and quickly settle into their groove. The mix is top notch and gives the appropriate power behind the band’s already monstrous sound, particularly with regards to the infamous dual guitar attack that drives the NOLA machine forward. Lead vocalist Kirk Windstein is an anomaly. He manages to shift seamlessly between jovial, charismatic ringleader and long suffering, sombre poet, pouring every ounce of himself into his emotive crooning over the heavily distorted tones.
The band then crank out a phenomenal rendition of High Rate Extinction, delivering a riff-per-minute that will give the guitar lovers something to fawn over. Crowbar are renowned the world over for their ability to create more memorable guitar parts per song than most bands can pen in their entire careers. This song is like a slow trudge through the swamp, with a sludgy riff that demands you headbang along and wallow in the low-end waves of distortion and rumbling bass.
The setlist has been carefully put together to cover some of the band’s best work, without being too predictable. They steamroll through classic such as New Dawn, Conquering and Waiting in Silence, before laying down a brilliant performance of The Lasting Dose from their critically acclaimed Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form album. The sorrowful three-part harmony and drawn-out vocals are so effective and delivered to perfection, with Windstein proving why he is so highly regarded in the scene that he worked so hard to establish back in the day.
We then get a surprise addition to the set in the form of New Man Born. A track that the band have only played twice previously since it was released, with both previous occasions having been when the band celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Odd Fellows Rest by playing the album in its entirety. You wouldn’t have thought that was the case though, given the note perfect way that it is delivered and the amount of calmness that exudes from the each of the members throughout.
Another highlight in the set is the track Walk With Knowledge Wisely, which has the combination of one of the most recognisable drum beats and insanely catchy riffs coming together to create a song that all the fans hold dear to their hearts, as well as being a great introductory track for people who need an accessible starting point for the band. Crowbar are well and truly in their groove with this one and the following classic of The Cemetery Angels, with the result being a brilliant vibe from a band having a garage-like jam and a great time. Only this band just so happens to be the forefathers of sludge metal and veterans in the scene.
Crowbar ensure they go out with a blaze of glory, with the powerful one-two combination of Planets Collide (a song that most metal heads would have heard at some stage whether they like it or not) and the uncharacteristically up-tempo All I Had (I Gave). This show was all the band having a good time and reconnecting with their dedicated fanbase in the best way they know how, and they achieved just that. Crowbar take solace in the simple things; big riffs, bigger melodies and the kind of infectious groove that forces you to pay attention. A welcome escape for many and a reminder that there is no other band in the genre that can hang with the masters.
Written By: Richard Webb