HRH CROWS - DAY 1 - O2 Academy, Sheffield 07.09.19

MARIA GLOVER

PHOTO CREDITS: MARTY MOFFATT PHOTOGRAPHY 

HRH Country Rock, Outlaw, Western & Southern (CROWS) returned Sheffield’s O2 Academy for a second year and as is the case with most (if not all) HRH events, the line up is voted for by the fans, ensuring you get what you pay for. With 24 acts over the course of the weekend, this is one big-ass southern fried, whiskey-soaked hoe-down.

COLLATERAL are generating a big buzz right now after the release of their ‘4 Shots’ EP last year. They bring their brand of cowboy-rock, alongside the best stage outfit I’ve seen since Steven Tyler, to the main stage to open day 1, having had to move the show up from day 2. ‘Big Shot’, ‘Midnight Queen’ and ‘Lullaby’ were sounding immense in the auditorium and the lads had their game faces on and a purpose in their stride as they rocked the room into submission. ‘Promised Land’ has that killer drum beat which gets you in the gut, and ‘About This Boy’ was simply stunning, a heartfelt track with such grace and beautiful vocals. This is the first time I’ve seen COLLATERAL live and it won’t be the last by any means. They sound amazing, they kick up the stage and get the audience rocking. Catch them live if you can. Tour dates available on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/collateralrocks/

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see ELEVATION FALLS or THE WATTINGERS’ sets, but Marty managed to snap a few shots.

I enjoyed the set by SWAMP BORN ASSASSINS which had a great fun feel with excellent guitar and lots of harmonica. There was a wanton early 70s hippy vibe among the heavy and bluesy rock, the vocals switched between two leads, and music to immerse yourself in not just dip a toe in. The music is raw and natural, the beat catchy and energetic. Stand out for me from the set was a cover of Blackberry Smoke’s ‘Shaking Hands With The Holy Ghost’, with a pounding Alannah Myles beat which enters your body through your feet and exits in the form of dancing awkwardly (in my case).  

Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/TheSwampBornAssassins

LOL GOODMAN

Merseyside’s REVIVAL BLACK (formerly Black Cat Bones) are currently taking pre-orders for their debut album. Frontman Dan Byrne has the most delicious angry vocals and literally pours everything out into his words. The sound is hard rock, classic rock, with a fresh, young edge to it and with a sprinkling of bluesy soulfulness poured over the top like a glaze. The room was packed to the rafters and every single person was in awe at the action on the stage and the wall of noise around us. ‘The River’ is a heavy blues track with booming bass and some fab shredding, which would appeal to everyone including those who might normally dodge a blues-rock artist. They mix in a little Deep Purple ‘Burn’ which goes down great. ‘No Secrets, No Lies’ got me right in the feels, and ‘Step In Line’ is purely thunderous. As a precursor to the album, I’m already itching at the bit. Pre-order links for ‘Step In Line’ can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RevivalBlackOfficial/

SONS OF LIBERTY delivered a masterclass in how to do southern rock n roll with power and finesse. The gravelly vocals mesmerise me, especially as Rob (Cooksley, frontman) sings from the side of his mouth, and I can picture him with moonshine on his porch. Alas, they are from Bristol - illusion shattered. But what a performance. Fred Hale on guitar switches between losing himself in the music and making full use of the stage, with some excellent string work which it was a joy to behold in person. The band are currently promoting their forthcoming album 'Animism' - scheduled for release October 25th 2019 on Roulette Records. A couple of new tracks were thrown in the setlist which included ‘Until The Rain Has Gone’ and the ass-kicking, bourbon-infused ‘Rich Man Poor Man’. The audience were dancing and jumping en mass to ‘Damned If You Do’ in what was a fun yet breathtakingly authentic southern rock party. It was immense. Thanks, guys.

Check them out https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSonsofLiberty/

VOODOO SIX did a 10-track setlist to a packed out main stage. The vocals were raw and impassioned, the beat at times pounding and the music timeless. ‘The Traveller’ led to ‘Take the Blame’, two great tracks, and the set continued to ravage the crowd til its close with the fabulous ‘Falling Knives’, a footstomper which the packed room thrived on. 

https://www.facebook.com/VoodooSixBand/

THE OUTLAW ORCHESTRA

It’s incredibly difficult to pigeon-hole THE JUPITER  BLUES to any particular genre, a funky and eclectic sound which introduces elements of indie, blues, and country. Another Liverpool band, the frontman is effervescent, the guitarist sublime and the rest of the band ain't too shabby too. Their set is chatty and unpredictable, but most of all display great talent in musicianship and some of the most velvety, soulful vocals to come from such a skinny young chap. I was blown away by the quality, as well as the life and soul thrown into the performance. The set was eclectic but generally bias towards blues-rock (obvs) with their own music and a few covers. BB King’s ‘Sweet Little Angel’ is a pure delight. ‘While The Sun Is On Our Side’ is incredibly rich and powerful with a truly addictive melody, and ‘Pumped Full of Sugar’ is darker and even more soulful. Love every second and didn’t want it to end.  

https://www.facebook.com/thejupiterblues/

STAND AMONGST GIANTS have had a line up change since I last saw them and it took me a little while to get used to it but the new vocalist is good. He looks and sounds to be styling himself on Jay Buchanon (Rival Sons), from the manbun to the way he delivers his lyrics. Loving the new track ‘Walk on Water’ – a dirty number with soulful and husky vocals which showcase the band’s talent. This southern-fried band are still hot!

 https://www.facebook.com/StandAmongstGiants/

A blend of southern metal and hard rock, PIG IRON feature one of the strongest vocalists around and tear up the day 1 at CROWS, the first show with their new guitarist. Opening with ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’ from their ‘IV’ album, this is good old rock and roll with no frills but with a lot of bourbon. Highlight for me ‘Wildcat Bird Head’ – great track, weird as hell title. 

https://www.facebook.com/Pig-Irön-official-282268295141020/

JASON AND THE SCORCHERS performed an epic 17 track setlist (by my count anyway) including one of the finest tracks by The Byrds in my opinion, ‘Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man’. Currently on tour as triple headliner with Dan Baird Homemade Sin and The Kentucky Headhunters, the band can celebrate 30 plus years on the circuit and many believe they are still as vital and dynamic as ever.

Check out their site https://www.jasonandthescorchers.com/

Headliners for Day 1 were THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS, from Kentucky believe it or not, considered by many as “THE” American country rock and Southern rock band. Originally founded in the 60s, this band has a whole heap of experience, both musically and in life, to breathe into their performances. These legends can captivate an entire arena and have influenced a whole generation of musicians including Black Stone Cherry.

Check them out on their website www.kentuckyheadhunters.com/

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