When popular band members leave popular bands, suddenly a spate of surprised / unhappy posts spring up all over the internet, but when Kirk Windstein left Down to concentrate on his NOLA legends Crowbar, there seemed to be a much more upbeat feel around social media. Right from the start of this evening, it was obvious why the headliners are so revered within the scene; this is more than just another gig for them. Kirk was standing behind the merch table chatting to fans when I arrived and it was really cool to see him at introduce the openers and stay around and saw some of most of the other bands.

With two local bands on the bill, there was a pretty decent turnout from the start, although the show wasn’t sold out. Openers Rain May Fall took to the stage and impressed the gathered crowd with their brand of 90’s inspired rock / metal. With some big hooks and really catchy tunes, the five piece have definitely got a lot to offer. Looking forward to seeing them again soon.  After the more melodic sound of the openers, next up were Iron Witch. Fuelled by a communal bottle of Buckfast opened at the start of their set, the band smashed through half hour of Iron Monkey-esque  violence. Switching pace from track to track, they prove that they are one of the best of the UK underground scene at the moment, and with an album on the way, hopefully they will be moving up the bills they appear on in the near future.

Dripback were the main support for this tour, and keen to spread the word after their acclaimed debut album “Failed Futures” was released earlier this year. Just as on the previous occasion I had caught the band live (supporting Biohazard) their stage show is every bit as intimidating as their music. Frontman Wez4 prowls the stage as if protecting his territory and warning off any potential intruders. Standout track s from the new album such as ‘Profit driven War’ and ‘Cessation Of Suffering’ even got the crowd shouting along with them. With a couple of tracks from their debut ‘Hailing The Ashes’ EP, the pits opened up, and their mash of hardcore / grind and death metal left a lot of people happy and wanting more. Another British band on the way up, proof of the talent we have to offer in this country.

The wait was over and Crowbar took to the stage. The band appeared (just about) through the smoke and ploughed through an hour of classics, old and new, and showed just why they are so revered. With a setlist that covered their long career, they set about trying to raze the venue to the floor with their crushing sound. With the band barely visible at times due to the amount of smoke, the excellent sound had to work be spot on, and on tonight it was. Difficult to pick a high point from the set, although ‘Self – Inflicted’ sounded pretty special. The closing duo of ‘Cemetary Angels’ and ‘Let Me Mourn’ brought to an end a quality night of music to a fitting end.

It’s a shame that the venue wasn’t as full as it could have been. A hell of a line up, and the fans that were there helped make it an excellent night.

Crowbar setlist:

Conquering – High Rate Extinction – The Lasting Dose – Burn Your World – Self Inflicted – Vacuum – Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth – Sever The Wicked Hand – New dawn – I Am Forever – All I Had (I Gave) – Planets Collide – Cemetary Angels – Let Me Mourn

Crowbar – Facebook Page

Dripback – Facebook Page

Iron Witch – Facebook Page

Rain May Fall – Facebook Page