CROW BLACK CHICKEN / BORN HEALER - The Robin2, Bilston - 27.08.18



Much to my sheer delight, the Irish trio Crow Black Chicken descend upon the Robin 2, Bilston again for another night of greasy rock blues, and what a night it was!


Despite the less than satisfactory turnout of patrons, there was a friendly atmosphere amongst those who had turned out for the two bands, an air of excitement could be felt and after seeing Crow Black Chicken perform last time they were in the UK I can understand why.

First up were support band BORN HEALER, a blues/rock quartet from London who formed in 2015. Almost immediately I’m hit by the sheer power of the vocals from front woman Helen Turner as the band kick off proceedings with ‘Pressure Valve’ from their 2016 album Til The Dawn, the rumbling bass sitting nicely in the chest cavity booming and thudding away along with the drum beat. That thwacking feel is gorgeous!


‘Forgot to Forget’ has a lovely swagger to it, Helen’s live vocals far surpassing anything I’ve heard her sing on the studio recorded albums. This is one band that sounds 100 times better live and you really need to experience it for yourself to understand just how powerful a performance these guys and gal put on. Helen is animated throughout the performance, her energetic and friendly vibe clearly shining on stage tonight. If only there were more people here to witness how great this band are! A depressingly sad turnout tonight folks!

Iain Black on guitar is awesome, blues riffs coming thick and soulful with Marek Funkas holding his own on the bass, providing that delicious deep rhythm while drummer Andy Jones is positioned in the semi darkness at the back of the stage maintaining the beat throughout. Covering Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ gets a few hoots from the crowd and what a cover it is! Helen’s voice once again captivating my ears, the hypnotic bass and perfect guitar intro certainly doing this song justice.

Their 8 song set ended far too quickly for my liking, closing with the hip shaking ‘Brand New Day’, a lively jive feeling blues track that really gets me shifting around the front of the stage with a lighter feel to my step, I could have listened to them play all evening! Great set, great blues/rock band, seriously go check them out ASAP.

Pressure Valve

Forgot To Forget

Since I’ve been Loving You
Til The Dawn

Old Father Time

Heavy Rumble
Brand New Day

Born Healer are:
Helen Turner - Vocals

Iain Black - Guitar

Andy Jones - Drums

Marek Funkas - Bass

Check out more from the band at:


A quick pitstop for a glass of coke and a pot of delicious chips, heavily salted and dripping with vinegar - Yummy! - The headliners make their way to the stage and start their set. Now I mentioned earlier that I caught these guys last time they played at the Robin2, and they seriously blew me away, so when presented with the opportunity to see them again I was obviously going to snap up the chance wasn’t I! I’m so glad I did!


Playing their own style of greasy blues rock the Irish trio that is CROW BLACK CHICKEN open up their set with ‘Justice’ from their 2016 album Pariah Brothers. I love this track, the fuzzy blues rock is so addictively good, Christy O’Hanlon’s vocals are powerful and raw, just as I remember. ‘Rumble Shake’ is up next and it’s one of those tracks that you can’t help but move around the dance floor to, which is what some of the audience decide to do, shaking their hips, moving with the swagger of the rhythm. And that is where they stay for the entirety of the set, glued to the dance floor in awe of the wonderful musicians that are now playing for us.

Making their way through an 11 track set (I really wish it had been a longer set that had included ‘Epitaph’ as I love that track!), Crow Black Chicken perform songs from across their various albums, including ‘Bijou Creole’, ‘John Lee Wee’, ‘Deer Meat Unloaded’ and ‘The Prophet’, and, as the tracks unfold, I recall the tales that Christy told the audience when I caught them last July at this very venue. This time though, we aren’t treated to those little anecdotes and I can only assume that is because, as we find out later in the set, Christy is struggling with some vocal problems. Seriously? I couldn’t tell, he sounds absolutely bloody amazing!

Stephen McGrath on bass is swishing around his part of the stage, his long hair covering his face most of the time as he gets into the rhythm and feel of the blues. He makes it look easy! His foot occasionally resting on the monitors as he makes a point of drawing the audience in with his deep bass rhythmic playing. Love it! Gev on drums is sitting happily behind his set, an occasional gritted teeth expression ensues as he booms out the steady drumbeat.


‘Pat McManus’ is the mover and shaker of the evening for me, it’s lively and full of kick ass rhythmic blues that makes me want to dance, and before I know it, I’m standing stage front shaking my tail feather and staring intently at Christy as he effortlessly plays guitar while booming out those powerful vocals. I have to remind myself that I’m here to take photos too and not just enjoy the show!

‘Jessie Mae’ written by Ray Wylie Hubbard, adds a wonderful depth to the set with its rumbling bass and heavy drums that are just simply awesome, then Christy’s vocals kick it up another notch and I’m once again astounded at how brilliant these guys are live.

Their set ends far too quickly, but it’s totally understandable that Christy is trying his best to sing as much as possible but without damaging his throat any more than is necessary. He announces the final song of the evening, and Stephen gestures to me that Christy has a sore throat as the opening vocals of ‘John The Revelator’ kick in, the almost hypnotic lyrics rolling out across the venue.What a track to close out an evening of awesome music!

Passionate blues, deep rolling basslines, gritty vocals and those thwacking drums made tonight's gig one of my favourites of the year so far. I can’t wait til Crow Black Chicken grace us with another tour, I can hardly wait to catch them again!


Rumble Shake
Bijou Creole

John Lee Wee

Deer Meat Unloaded

Big Mama’s Back Door

The Prophet


Jessie Mae

Pat McManus

John The Revelator

Crow Black Chicken are:
Christy O’Hanlon - Vocals/Guitar

Stephen McGrath - Bass

Gev Barrett - Drums


Check out the band at the following links:



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