Crowbar at Academy 3, ManchesterSupport: Boss Keloid| Barbarian Hermit
March 19, 2017 at Academy 3, Manchester
Promoter: CMH Live
By the time I arrived at the Student Union, the doors had just opened and the first band were about to start. Uncertainty over where to get the passes and who was covering that show meant that by the time I got into the Academy 3, openers Barbarian Hermit were already well into their set. It was cool to see they had drawn a large crowd, especially with the doom / sludge scene thriving in the North West, people had taken their opportunity to see an up and coming band take their chance sharing a bill with one of the scene leaders. This is one band that aren’t too far from creating a bigger wave and featuring higher up bills like this. Great stage presence, massive riffs and memorable songs provided a great start to evening.
Next up were Boss Keloid, another local support (every show on this tour featured a different line up), and another great choice. After a stellar 2016 with the release of their much acclaimed Herb Your Enthusiasm album, the band cemented themselves as one of the very best that this country has to offer and they certainly don’t seem intent in resting on that and instead are after bigger and better things. They seem to have everything going for them, the band seem to be getting better every time I see them, which you’d think at some point has to level out, but it doesn’t seem to be. They also look like they are lobbing every single minute of being there, and being in a position to support their heroes on a regular basis. Frontman Alex Hurst spend a lot of the time in between songs making sure the crowd are involved and enjoying it as much as they are. A very confident performance, and with a new album coming next year, much like the openers they can look forward to a future where they could easily headline this venue in the near future. ‘Axis Of Green’ and ‘Lung Mountain’ sound bigger than ever and with the band heading to Desertfest as well as a tour with Bongzilla and John Garcia after this, this could could be the start of something big.
Finally, it was time for Crowbar. The New Orleans titans have been doing this for nearly 30 years and on this tour are playing almost every night for over a month, so they could be forgiven if the energy levels dropped occasionally. Instead they are visibly around for the whole night, checking out the support bands and setting up their own gear (which they have done every time I have seen them) and that attitude shows how much they love doing this. The room is full and the set is packed with classics such as ‘Planets Collide’ and ‘Like Broken Glass’ with only ‘Plasmic And Pure’ featuring from last years The Serpent Only Lies record. Kirk also offers up some self deprecation lines about him being old and deaf making sure the crowd give us much back as the band give out, not that he needs to. As big and heavy as intense as the other sets were tonight, Crowbar manage to take it up another couple of levels with an hour long sludge master class that few, if any can rival. Almost as soon as their set has finished, the band were over by the merch desk meeting fans (including members of the other bands), getting photos and signing stuff and generally showing that however old they may be, they appreciate the support and like to give something back. A great night.
Crowbar setlist: ‘High Rate Extinction’ – ‘Conquering’ – ‘All I Had (I Gave)’ – ‘To Build A Mountain’ – ‘The Cemetery Angels’ – ‘Walk With Knowledge Wisely’ – ‘Plasmic and Pure’ – ‘Scattered Pieces Lay’ – ‘Planets Collide’ – ‘Existence Is Punishment’ – ‘Like Broken Glass’ – ‘Burn Your World’ – ‘I Have Failed’.