After the experience of seeing Entombed at Championship Bar and Grill in scenic Trenton, New Jersey, I knew I had to go back for Crowbar. It’s about a two-hour ride from where I live, but that room is too small to miss it. The difference is, instead of foolishly putting myself right up front for Jersey hardcore’s finest to punch at and spill my beer, I hung back and actually got to enjoy the set.
Crowbar‘s first tour in however many years, blah blah blah. More important as far as I’m concerned is how rusty is the band behind guitarist, vocalist and recent Obelisk interviewee Kirk Windstein, and how rusty is the man himself? Crowbar‘s been playing shows for a couple months now, and I was ultra-glad to have the chance to see them. The sound at Championship’s wasn’t ideal, but they made the best of it, and the crowd ate it up, moshing, chanting the band’s name, throwing fists, etc. For me, it was just such a relief to see Crowbar again. I couldn’t help but smile.
They played the hits: “Planets Collide,” “I Have Failed,” “Thru the Ashes,” “New Dawn,” “Conquering.” “Lasting Dose” from 2001′s Sonic Excess in its Purest Form was especially well-received, and the title cut from the upcoming Sever the Wicked Hand — Crowbar‘s first album for E1 Music, due out in February — was welcomed like an old friend. The guitars sounded low, which was a bummer, and that pushed Windstein‘s vocals way to the front. Both he and guitarist Matthew Brunson (who also contributed some unfortunate backing vocals to “Planets Collide”) were playing through Dime amps, apparently named by Dean Guitars in tribute to Dimebag Darrell, and they looked brand new. I hope they didn’t have to pay for them.
But the lack of guitar oomph aside, there was zero to complain about in terms of the setlist, the Yuengling special at the bar or anything else. I didn’t see any of Black Tusk‘s set, but heard a bit from outside, and they sounded meh, for whatever that’s worth. Crowbar played an hour and did no encore, ending with “All I Had I Gave,” and it was a professional if distant set. I noted the O’Douls on Windstein‘s amps, and his eyes looked like they were seeing the show a new way. I think everyone’s pulling for him for doing what he needs to do, and if there was a problem with the show, it wasn’t that the singer was drunk. Actually, as his voice was pumped high through the Championship’s P.A., he sounded better than I’ve ever heard him.
Getting to split out of there at about 11:30 was a bonus, and since it was Trenton and I’ve never been down there without seeing flashing lights, the cops showed up to tend to some dude on the ground outside. I don’t know what the deal was there, but at this point it’s just part of the experience. Might as well list it on the website: “Tonight: Crowbar, Black Tusk, A Life Once Lost, seven other bands… and the cops.” Good fun all around.
Kirk Windstein live photos by Lorenzo Ferraro (website here).
Tags: Crowbar, E1 Music, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Orleans, Trenton