A Updated

There is a distinct buzz surrounding Those Damn Crows right now.

Manchester : Academy 2 - 18th February 2023

There is a distinct buzz surrounding Those Damn Crows right now. Since their debut full-length album (‘Murder And The Motive’) dropped in 2018, they have built a healthy fan base, primarily on the back of a strong live reputation. Sophomore ‘Point Of No Return’ cemented their status as one of the UK’s brightest young hopes and now, with the release of album number three, ‘Inhale/Exhale’, things are about to become very interesting indeed. The show in Manchester was originally scheduled for the smallest of the four Academy venues, but when that sold out in minutes, it was moved to the second largest. It was quite clear on arriving, twenty minutes after the door opening time, that they could possibly have filled it twice over, as there were still a very large number of people waiting to get inside.

When the band finally took to the stage they were greeted like returning heroes by the very enthusiastic crowd, who were packed into the room like sardines. It may have been February outside, but inside the temperature levels would have put the most powerful of saunas to shame. Launching into ‘Fill The Void’, the opening track from ‘Inhale/Exhale’, it was clear that the Welsh five-piece were intent on taking no prisoners. During the course of the fifteen song, seventy minute set the energy levels were off the scale. ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Sick Of Me’ kept the momentum going before lead-singer Shane Greenhall finally took a breather to welcome everyone to the evening’s entertainment. No less than seven songs were taken from the new album, and these were accompanied by blistering renditions of the more established ‘Kingdom Of Dust’, ‘Sin On Skin’, ‘Send The Reaper’ and ‘Blink Of An Eye’.

Throughout the show, guitarists David Winchurch and Ian Thomas and bass player Lloyd Wood were very animated, whilst drummer Ronnie Huxford battered away at the back. Greenhall lead from the front, with some great vocals. Producer Dan Weller recently worked with Stone Broken and he has managed to get Those Damn Crows to up their own game, in the process getting the band to tweak their signature sound a little and incorporate a few new elements. New album pre-orders were received by fans in advance of the tour, meaning songs never played live before were already familiar to most. As expected, all the material had far more punch than their studio counterparts. ‘This Time I’m Ready’ typifies this new creative mantra. In some ways it is more mature, with a ballad-like opening, yet still loses nothing in terms of energy and intensity. When ‘See You Again’ brought things to a close the crowd managed to raise their arms, despite the lack of space, to send the band on their way.

In the space of ten days I have seen Stone Broken, The Kris Barras Band and Those Damn Crows. These are just three of the bands leading the way right now and it seems like the UK music scene has never been in a better place. The only criticism I have of the evening is that the event was completely over-sold. There were a ridiculous number of people crammed into the small room. Dangerously so, in my opinion. I also learned, before catching the train home, that some could not even get inside to get a view of the stage, so left without even watching the show. Those Damn Crows have a busy live schedule for 2023 so it will be interesting to see where they are playing the next time they are in Manchester.

Dave Bott

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