So a trip to the Robin 2 on a Monday night must mean something a bit special and indeed it is as Crow Black Chicken are making a welcome return during their current tour. A band who we first caught in Ireland about four years ago and were instantly drawn to the music which is pure raw-dirty blues and who in their own words “play blues from the deep south”, south of Ireland that is.
A tight three-piece who over the past few years have pulled off some great gigs, most recently two sets at Hard Rock Hell Blues in Sheffield where they went down a storm. Pulling influences from around the music scene they lay down a sound that moves around genres and tempos leaving you wondering what coming up next.
Christy O’Hanlon takes care of the guitar and vocals and seamlessly moves from whispering tones to a voice so rough it can strip paint. He is also equally at home playing slide acoustic or ripping out a string bending solo. Stephen McGrath on bass makes the stage his own as he throws out bluesy funky bass lines whilst Gev Barrett on drums is the steadying force to keep the others in line.
‘Skin Deep’ and ‘White Lightning’ show the funkier side of the band whilst ‘Jessie Mae’ shows the band shift the dynamics to subtle slide. “Rumble Shake” is CBC through and through, with its driving rhythm and deep wah on the bass, a style that you hear though a number of their tracks.
Christy is a fine storyteller and he throws fills between the tracks including how a dead deer became the logo for one of the tshirts and how they ended up with a song named after the Professor Pat McManus.
Bands like CBC play music that is not just there to be a filler but to make you think and push boundaries and break the rules, their sound is ever evolving and challenges the norm.
After a blisteringly good set they pull out a great cover of the Sun House classic ‘John The Revelator’ to bring the show to an end.
Due back over in November for a series of dates and they will certainly be on my hit list to see again.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
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