Classic Coke & Crowbar Satiate Metalheads With An Assist from BodyBox and Primitive Man.
Crowbar has been making their instantly identifiable, unadulterated brand of doom “sludge” metal since 1988, and they show no signs of slowing down in output and touring. Their recent show at Red Flag demonstrated that their old formula of heavy riffs, slow trodding, and dual-guitar attack still works and works well. As the adage states, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. Along with openers, Primitive Man and BodyBox, they put the “m” in metal and Monday night. Approximately 100 primarily male fans donning Behemoth, God Flesh, Eyehategod, Slayer, Ghost, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, and other black T’s were ready for some OG doom and thrash.
Opener BodyBox played at an earsplitting volume and was one prolonged primal scream therapy session set to music. It was the sound of hell and the apocalypse, and that’s always an excellent way to get a metal show cooking. It was hard to tell where one song ended and another started, but that wasn’t an issue for any real metal fan.
Primitive Man outdid BodyBox in the volume category and was one cacophonous, squealing Breughel squaw. It got so loud that even the typical metal fan that could stand next to a jet engine and not flinch had to take a quick smoke break to prevent their ears from bleeding.
Before Crowbar, the no airs, no frills, a working man’s doom metal quartet, even took the stage, founder, leader, throat, and barking riff master Kirk Windstein was spotted walking into the venue with his takeout dinner in a plastic bag. It doesn’t get any more working class and no frills than that. It’s not like you’ll see Lars or James Hetfield eating their Chinese takeout at Red Flag.
Crowbar’s T-shirt-clad, shorts and jean-wearing street musicians (vocalist/guitarist Kirk Windstein, drummer Tommy Buckley, bassist Shane Wesley, and lead guitarist Matt Brunson) took the stage to little banter and no introduction. They proceeded to plow into an hour-plus show that was big on riffs, fuzz, dueling leads, big beats and trodding tempos, and a wall of sound. For my money, I think Crowbar is just a bit better at their brand of metal than some of their more well-known peers like Pantera, Slayer, or Anthrax. Crowbar sticks with their formula, just like the makers of Coke, and that’s just fine with their faithful.
Drummer Tommy Buckley was the night’s MVP. He drummed with mathematical precision, and his fills were crazy powerful. He’s one of those drummers you can watch all night and never get bored. Windstein pointed at fans, gave out some firm high fives, and engaged in the minimum amount of banter. In his world, you let the music do the talking. Wesley held the bottom down and occasionally engaged in classic patented rock star moves with Windstein. Lead guitarist Matt Brunson stayed in his zone, in the darkness, hat down, face obscured, and wailed. Rocking that hard requires concentration.
By the third number, the mosh pit opened up; briefly, devil’s horns were thrown, heads were banged, and the fans got their fill of meat and potatoes. I imagine chiropractors all over St. Louis were busy performing next-day adjustments to necks and backs.
My memory is a little fuzzy, and I’m not always great at remembering song titles. Still, I remember “Planets Collide,” “Conquering,” and “Negative Pollution,” among many other slabs and stabs of doomy, sludgy goodness. I counted between 12-14 songs. Heck, when you’re having that much fun, who’s counting?
Crowbar left it all on the stage, and you couldn’t ask for more. You could, but you can’t say you didn’t get your money’s worth or a hard workout. In a world where everyone is changing, going commercial, or mucking with the formula, Crowbar can be counted on to stay true, stay loud, and stay proud. Don’t mess with perfection.