Until this show, I had never seen Crow Black Chicken before, but I have seen both the support bands before. First up was Sweet May who I saw for the first time just over three weeks ago back in March. This is a power trio whose music comes screaming out of the bleeding, still-beating heart of 70s rock. Think Thin Lizzy, Free, Bad Company, and maybe even Rainbow. Will, Piers, and Al are supremely talented in their own right and they come to more than the sum of their parts as a sublime hard-rocking unit. I want to single out one of the band for a big shout out though. There are poor drummers, there are ok drummers, there are good drummers and every so often there is a great drummer. Step up from your drum stool and take a bow Al Perry, you really are a great drummer! Particular highlights of Sweet May‘s set for me were “Deep Space” and “Insane”. The latter had the power and passion to take the roof off the venue. Thankfully that didn’t actually happen and I am very pleased to say that the Crescent remains intact.
Next up it was Doghouse Derelicts, another band I was witnessing for just the second time, the first was just over four weeks ago. They sounded like early Doobie Brothers with Joe Walsh on guitar and some classy Eaglesesque harmonies at times. This really feels like a band at the top of their game, although I suspect they have a fair bit more in the tank too. “Wasted” and “Where I’m From” were early highlights in a great set. At one point the band introduced a rapper, Dandy, to join them on stage. Now on paper that combination really doesn’t sound like it would work at all. But on stage, it was a fucking masterstroke. Dandy enhanced a couple of already great tunes, particularly set closer “I Don’t Care”. Given that the crowd was quite sparse, well it was a Monday night, this was a banging, brilliant set from Doghouse Derelicts.
Finally, it was time for the headliners Crow Black Chicken who gave us some ace fuzzed up, bluesy, swampy, funky, dirty US deep south rock. The band is in fact from the deep south …….. of Ireland! Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, Canned Heat, ZZ Top and Creedence Clearwater Revival with an undertow of Little Feat and that might give you a little of what Crow Black Chicken sounds like. Lead singer Christy O’Hanlon has a rough-edged, raspy, soulful voice that was made for blues-rock. His guitar work was incredible too. The band is a real live force of nature. Bassist Stephen McGrath gurns every note that he rips out of his bass guitar. He plays notes that many other bass players couldn’t. The way he partners seamlessly with drummer Gev Barrett in a rhythm section reminiscent of John Bonham and John Paul Jones is sublime. It really is hard to tell sometimes that Crow Black Chicken is not an authentic deep south US band, but that does not make them copyists. They really are a fine original band that knows how to rock. I loved the song about Oliver Cromwell and the tribute to Weather Report’s late great Jaco Pastorius. But my favourite of the whole evening was a tune about cults and in particular Jim Jones. Every song was a blinder though, Crow Black Chicken‘s set was definitely all killer, no filler! Check them out NOW people!
All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.
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