Crobot’s debut, with its brand of Rage Against the Machine’s musical power and thrust, replacing the lyrically political with sci-fi was met with many plaudits. Personally, I found the album’s production favoured vocalist Brandon Yeagly too much in the mix at the unfortunate expense of guitarist Chris Bishop. Despite this, I look forward to seeing them for the first time aware that they have been touring constantly since the said album’s release in 2014 supporting the likes of Clutch, The Sword, Anthrax, and building up a good live reputation along the way.
But before then there are two support bands on the tour so in order of play from South Wales is Buffalo Summer. On at a ridiculously early time slot (it’s Friday night so a club follows) I only catch the last two songs. They are in full swing when I arrive with my first pint in hand and the pretty decent crowd who have turned up for them are clearly enjoying their brand of The Answer, Thunder, Bad Company influenced feel good Hard Rock. Their jovial rock stomp began to melt away my week’s work stresses, so thank you guys.
The Austin, Texas five-piece Scorpion’s Child follow and they take no time in getting into a groove and swagger as they confidently display stage prowess. Vocalist Aryan Jonathan Black combines the look and moves of Robert Plant and David Coverdale so it’s no surprise these keen influences result in their songs being longer, drawn out affairs, a trickier proposition than their touring companions, but the closing new track show signs of growth in quality from their forthcoming second album, due early next year.
Now for the headliners – Crobot emerge onstage with radiant smiles to an 80’s (?) soul track and showcase their silky dance moves before they explode with purpose in the shape of ‘Legend of the Spacebourne Killer’. They have confidence in abundance and their overt enjoyment to be here never fades throughout. The sound for the first couple of tracks has the guitar a bit too lowdown in the mix (a bit like the album), but it’s not long before the balance is bang on. And boy do they rock hard! The constant touring has definitely paid dividends because they are tighter than a Conservative government’s welfare cheque hand out.
Brandon Yeagly looks like a youthful fashion conscious Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden) dressed in a red suede jacket while Chris Bishop looks like a character from Sons of Anarchy. All of this combined with the very nifty Jake Figueroa on bass creates a unit which rock with staggering punch, groove and swagger. Their delivery is a fun filled ferocity and the crowd respond in kind, appreciating the energy they are putting in. Old tracks like ‘Chupacabra’, ‘Le Mano de Lucifer’, and ‘Necromancer’ are storming while the airing of a few new tracks suggest a slight development of direction as ‘Welcome to Fat City’, ‘Edge of the Sun’, and ‘Queen of the Light’ maintains the instant ear-catching hooks and funky influences, but slightly holds back on the Rage Against the Machine’s attack and punch.
They depart after an hour and fifteen minutes straight, no encore, and although they are a couple of songs short from maintaining the very high standard they have set themselves, it is with pleasure I can report that I have a newfound fondness for Crobot. They are a very good live band and I recommend seeing them in the smaller and cosier venues on this current tour. They kicked off the weekend in fine style.