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Crowbar Comes Out On Top At The Electric Ballroom In London

Photo of Converge

Band Photo: Converge (?)

It's always intriguing when bands from different genres or generally different styles come together. Cathedral on the Gods of Grind tour was an interesting experiment, as was Sick Of It All on the New Titans On The Block tour. On this night, I made my first visit to Camden's famous, Electric Ballroom to see a show headlined by Converge, where they were joined by special guests Crowbar, another pairing which might raise a few eyebrows.

First of all, credit must be given to The Electric Ballroom. Camden is known for being overpriced and something of a tourist trap, but this large and tidy venue which has hosted everyone from Sid Vicious (who recorded a live album here) to Paul McCartney is very reasonably priced indeed and all the staff from the bouncers to the bartenders to the cloakroom attendants were very friendly and helpful. I don't normally make notes like these about venues, but The Electric Ballroom was so impressive I felt I had to praise their work.

Opening the show was Grave Pleasures, a post punk/Gothic rock band from the Finnish capital of Helsinki. Also a little out of place in a room where most of the audience were adorned in caps and demanding brutality, the Finns held their own, delivering a solid set which caught the attention of those in the crowd willing to give something different a go. Unfortunately, not being familiar with any of their material, I can't divulge any information on which songs were played, but for those who like their rock dark but their metal light, Grave Pleasures are well worth checking out.

Next up was the turn of Thou, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The group are very stripped down with minimal interaction, neither introducing themselves or any song titles. There were those who didn't quite know what to make of this approach, or indeed their music, but the majority of those in attendance seemed to be impressed with what they heard and Thou will certainly be welcomed back to London the next time they come across the Atlantic.

With no less than eleven albums under their belts, New Orleans' legendary band Crowbar has a lot to choose from, as well to condense into a special guest slot. Unfortunately, the Converge contingent didn't seem particularly interested in the pioneers of "sludge metal" but there were enough Crowbar fans in attendance to make a significant noise. Performing such staples as, "Planets Collide," "All I Had (I Gave") and "... And Suffer as One" as well as songs from their latest album, "The Serpent Only Lies" such as "I Am The Storm." For several years, frontman Kirk Windstein was the driving force behind the group, though with original bassist Todd Strange back in the fold, Crowbar seems better and more focused than ever, capping off their set with the combination of "Existence Is Punishment" and "Like Broken Glass," in a performance which delighted fans. Due to time constraints, I was only able to catch the first two songs from Converge, which were successful in getting the crowd moving, leaving all those who came to the show tonight going home with a smile on their face.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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