As Tom Russell growled when he introduced Eden’s Curse to the Classic Grand a few months ago; “It’s Friday night and we’re gonna rock!” And that’s exactly what was on the agenda. A fantastic double-header of Falling Red followed by The Burning Crows.
After my interview with The Burning Crows and catching up with a couple of familiar faces before my interview with Falling Red, tonight’s opener; Mason Hill took to the stage. Going down fairly well to a half-full Ivory Blacks, they were a band full of energy and excitement at having been given this chance. Complete with a bass player who had a week to learn the songs, they did what a support band should; showing what they have to offer while warming up the crowd for the main event.
Fitting in nicely with the overall hard rock feel of the night, they showed great musicianship and a hunger to strive for more. After a short spell on stage, they departed to a well-received set, winning over some new fans, myself included.
It felt like I had blinked and Falling Red were suddenly tearing up the stage. Uncompromising and enthusiastic in equal measure, they set out their stall of their own brand of hard rock. Blistering and sneering with a hint of danger, it enraptured much of the audience. Given this was my first time seeing Falling Red and the only song I know of theirs being “How You Feel on Me” which wasn’t played, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how tight their performance was.
Frontman Rozey was self-deprecatingly funny, spending time chatting to the crowd when he wasn’t providing vocals and well-crafted guitar licks. One of the best songs of the entire night was their cover of “Rebel Yell”, Rozey snarling the lyrics as if Billy Idol himself was at the microphone and working the crowd into a frenzy.
Meanwhile, Dave Sanders on drums hammered the kit into submission, a great spectacle in its own right and making up one half of a solid rhythm section with bassist Mikey Lawless. Despite only knowing one song, by the time Falling Red left the stage, I had left as a fan and I knew The Burning Crows had a mountain to climb
After another quick changeover, I grabbed a spot for The Burning Crows. Relentless from the word “go”, they launched straight in with the title track of their debut album, “Behind the Veil” before the one-two punch of heavy hitters “All the Way” and “Slow Up, Get Down”. We were also treated to some new songs including the excellent “Shine” from upcoming album, Murder at the Gin House. High-octane from start to finish with moments for crowd interaction, The Burning Crows didn’t let up, their set finished with another new song and I left with the feeling it was over far too quickly.
Between the four of them, there was a cool ease of relaxation in their performance. It’s obvious the past three years have been great for them, tightening what was already a great live show. Slicker than many bands and unafraid to show it, following Falling Red wasn’t an easy task but they made it look effortless.
The dual guitars of Whippz and Lance weaving around one another coupled with Will Lockett’s rich, dirty bass grooves and Chris Chapman’s unfaltering pounding drums made an entertaining feast for the eyes and ears.
I’ll be certain to catch Falling Red the next time they’re back in town and it was a pleasure to see The Burning Crows once more. It says something about the quality of both bands that each of their sets were packed full of great songs and the pair of them making the night pass in a blur. I can’t think of a better way to have spent a Friday evening.