I’ve never known why visiting The Dome always seems like I’m going to the very edge of ‘venue world’. If truth be told The Dome is just a stone’s throw from Kentish Town Forum- okay several javelin throws but you get my point.
Tonight is the return of sludge metal kings and lest we forget pioneers CROWBAR in support of their latest album, their 11th overall ‘The Serpent Only Lies’, and there is a decent crowd packed into the venue to watch them.
However first we are entertained by two support bands. GODS kick the evening off and whilst their frontman shows plenty of energy and truly earth shattering lungs, that get quite a few approvals from the crowd, the band still manage to come over a bit lacklustre. Indeed take the singer out of GODS and there is more energy in a 40 watt bulb (there I’m showing my age).
GODS miserable set is only heightened when local boys DRIPBACK hit the stage and set about it like caged animals let out for the evening. The foursome are manic and genuinely look honoured to be playing The Dome and supporting CROWBAR. A forty minute set goes by rapidly and DRIPBACK are the perfect tonic to set us up for this evening’s main event.
Ten minutes before CROWBAR are due on, front man and guitarist Kirk Windstein instantly recognisable is there on stage setting up gear and tuning his guitar. Not one soul in the crowd acknowledges this and therein lies the lure of this band from New Orleans. They are so in touch with their fans and have their feet firmly planted on the ground, there is no bullshit with this band even after a quarter of a century of being together.
Hell we’re talking CROWBAR, we’re talking two original members of DOWN. It’s only when Windstein is done with fine tuning his guitar and using masking tape to keep the leads in place on the stage that he turns to the crowd and a massive roar of approval comes his way and we’re all set for some of the finest doom music from across the pond.
It’s interesting that Windstein said when recording the new album that he had gone back and listened to old school CROWBAR material because tonight we only get one song from their latest album. Well into the set ‘Plasmic and Pure’ sounds very much like TYPE O NEGATIVE crushing your balls, and CROWBAR prove that even when they are in double figures album wise they still have plenty of meat on the bone.
Three songs including set opener ‘High Rate Extinction’ come from 1993’s self-titled record. And tonight is about remembering the old, which is apt given the recent return of bassist Todd Strange. Strange and Windstein incite mosh pits all whilst cranking their instruments, winking to the front row, pulling faces and still looking shit cool. CROWBAR still have it, not just in the music but with the connection they have with the fans too.
After piling our ears for three decades you leave the show with the emphatic view that you’ve just seen a band who never sold out and compromised, hell they don’t even dream about it.