Published on March 28th, 2018 | by Gary Spiller0
Those Damn Crows, Tomorrow is Lost, Ravenbreed @ The Patriot, Crumlin
South Wales is rapidly becoming a favourite destination for this scribe; a veritable hotbed of quality rock music with a fantastic blend of great bands and excellent venues, along with enthusiastic and knowledgeable promoters within this wide and varied region. From the bustling cities to the valleys steeped in mining heritage, there is a clear passion and hunger for all things rock n’ roll.
This evening’s hosts are the Patriots Motorcycle Club, the only Military MC Back Patch Club, who own and run the excellent Patriot in Crumlin, a former mining town to the NW of Newport. Tonight they have assembled a tasty trio of up and coming bands with Cardiff-based, Ravenbreed, opening the night before handing the baton to long-distance travellers, Tomorrow is Lost, from Newcastle, and headliners, Welsh-rockers, Those Damn Crows.
First up are Ravenbreed, a quartet of Cardiff lads who have only been gigging since the start of the year. Looking at it you wouldn’t know it; they’re as tight a unit as one that has been on the circuit for much longer. Their heavy pile driving style is a crowd pleaser and the masses are soon into what Ravenbreed can offer, opening with ‘Polaroid’ and ‘Insult’, tracks that catch my attention along with the overwhelming majority of the healthy sized gathering.
A strong feature of this four-piece is the incredibly solid rhythm section of drummer Oli Watkins and bassist Ross Formosa; the former laying down a terrifically heavy beat as if he was playing with the very warhammers of Thor. It’s a rhythm that his four-string partner in crime complements in consummate and energetic fashion. Six-stringer Mikey Watkins weaves his neat riffs through the solid foundation laid down by Oli and Ross; whilst the powerful and heartfelt vocals of Warren Allen nestle tidily amongst.
All too soon their 6 song, 30 minute set is at an end with closing-track, ‘Falling Away’, revealing a softer, gentler inner that gives further insight to this most promising of outfits; one whom I shall be endeavouring to catch live again.
North-eastern natives, Tomorrow is Lost, are next on and bring with them, on their epic 600 plus mile road trip, much promise, having gained more than decent reviews from the two singles they have released since formation in the early stages of last year. In the subsequent 12 months these five talented young musicians have crafted a stage presence and forged a musical style that, whilst drawn from clear influences, stands strong on its own two metaphorical feet. In fact their music sits most comfortably in between current musical peers Skarlett Riot and Mohawk Radio.
The obvious focal point of Tomorrow is Lost is the powerful vocal range of singer Cass King, whose voice is redolent, in parts, of Dolores O’Riordan at her peak. However, this quintet are not one dimensional in the slightest as the twin lead guitar breaks of Joe McDermott and Ryan O’Hara shine brightly out front. All good bands have a decent bassist / drummer pairing and in Adam Clement and Max McKenzie Tomorrow is Lost demonstrate this attribute.
Stand out moments in Tomorrow is Lost’s 35 minute, 7 song set include 2017’s debut single, ‘Insane’, along with an outstanding cover of Australian singer Sia’s, ‘Elastic Heart’, before the piece de resistance, recently released single, ‘We Are The Lost’, which gains rapturous applause as the set draws to a conclusion, leaving the myself and a huge chunk of the crowd clamouring for more.
Amazingly this is tonight’s headliners, Those Damn Crows, first top of the bill show. The Crows have come a long way in the last year and are now firmly ensconced on the rock festival circuit with a triumphant performance at January’s Giants of Rock to kick off the year before heading off to Ibiza for Hard Rock Hell’s Road Trip. Slots at Wildfire, Rambling Man and Steelhouse amongst others beckon for these Bridgend-based rockers in 2018 and there’s the tantalising prospect of a new EP too. The four tracks that are mooted to form this EP are neatly entwined with eleven of the thirteen from highly acclaimed debut album ‘The Murder and The Motive’ along with ‘Going Down’ a really decent track that hasn’t yet found a home so to speak. This is the first time I’ve heard this one and hope it won’t be the last. Destined for the EP ‘Say It To My Face’ is well received and gives hint that The Crows are not going to lose any momentum this year, in fact quite the reverse. On this evening’s showing the other new tunes ‘Go Get It’, ‘Behind These Walls’ and ‘Devil In My Pocket’ will ensure that the EP is one of this year’s must purchase musical offerings.
It’s a party atmosphere inside The Patriot, and The Crows are in determined mood to rock it right up to eleven and hit their classics like, ‘Don’t Give A Damn’, ‘Someone Someday’ and ‘Blink of an Eye’ with a strength that ensures the show registers on the Richter Scale! There’s a visible tightness developing between the quintet of Shane, Dave, Lloyd, Ian and Ronnie as they feed voraciously off the energy of the packed crowd, smiles and interaction aplenty as the assembled ensemble sing-a-long in fine voice. Bridgend’s heavy metal answer to The Stereophonics are on top form and looking to savour every moment of tonight.
Destined to be not only a Crow’s classic, but also a stand out song from this New Wave of Classic Rock genre, ‘Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead’, lifts the roof of The Patriot with structural damage being reported at a considerable radius. This is high octane fuelled rock and stonking deliveries of ‘Breakaway’ and ‘One of These Nights’ wrap up proceedings with a flourish. The crowd chant for more but time’s up and the house lights come on to signal the end of a fine set of 16 songs tipping the clocks at the best part of an hour and a half. The future of rock is indeed in safe hands.
Photos by Gary Spiller