The last time I saw Those Damn Crows (9) was in a packed out Dogtooth Stage at Download 2019 and this sold out tour of intimate UK venues has been much the same, but before we talk about them it’s worth just mentioning support band Florence Black. If you like Black Stone Cherry, you will love this power trio. Playing as hard and heavy as anything the boys from Kentucky can do, these young upstarts are definitely a band to watch out for – even the drummer plays like an illegitimate child of Animal – and when they closed the set with possibly the best version of Breadfan I’ve ever witnessed it was almost a guarantee most of the room will be giving them a Facebook thumb and seeing them again.
Everyone is crammed in shoulder to shoulder to see one band though and as they launch into Who Did It, frontman Shane Greenhall is immediately affable and the entire audience is in the palm of his hand before the first chorus even rolls around and wastes no time in leading the band into a Foo Fighters-esque audience participation/drag out moment during Long Time Dead. It’s nothing no one’s seen before, but it works and when it’s done well like The Crows do, it really works.
After that excitement, Behind These Walls seems to fall a little flat, but after a little jam on some Hendrix and Shane standing on the sound desk barrier in the middle of the room during Set In Stone, everyone is soon moving again.
In order to add an extra depth to the live performance, the guys have decided to have Shane play an acoustic guitar during Be You, but with the whole band playing it just got lost in the mix and seemed fairly pointless because of it – had it been just one voice, one guitar I’m sure it would have blown everyone away, but this just didn’t seem to hit the right mark.
Other jams through the evening included Pinball Wizard, Live and Let Die and Purple Rain, which were all fun and the addition of the piano on stage was a very nice touch, particularly when some people may have only seen a piano with a rock band during November Rain and I doubt anyone has ever seen a band pull one out in a 200 capacity venue…
For some reason Sin on Skin only seemed to get a lukewarm reception from the crowd, despite sounding just as great live as predicted when hearing it on the recently released phenomenal Point of No Return album, maybe it was due to getting near the end of the set, but it was time to find that reserve tank for the closing barrage of Don’t Give A Damn, Breakaway and, of course, Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead.
The band were tight, the banter was spot on, the songs were banging. It probably gets said a lot, but you NEED to see this band before they explode into huge venues, an arena tour support slot can’t be far away for these boys and then it won’t be long before they’re back in those venues as the headliners.