Crowbar are among the more well known names in all of heavy metal. They have been around since 1991, and have continuously been an influence on the slow and heavy styles of the genre such as sludge, doom, and stoner metal. They are also among the most well known of heavy metal bands from New Orleans, the city that has brought us bands like Eyehategod, Down, Exhorder, Superjoint Ritual, Goatwhore, Solient Green, Acid Bath, and Kingdom of Sorrow. So for many people, when they heard that Crowbar would be playing at DiPiazza’s (and bringing along Battlecross with them), they thought that it was a joke. DiPiazza’s is a well known venue in the area for local shows and smaller shows. Many wondered how the half pizza place and half venue would handle the turnout that was sure to happen for a bill like this.
The show was heavily promoted by ADHD Entertainment, and tickets sold well before the show. The line was established before doors open. To make room for people, the merch booths were located outside of the venue. The tables and chairs that are usually in the venue were moved out of the way, and people began to file in, either getting a spot up front or getting a slice of pizza and beer. The first band to go on was the only local band of the show, Grand Lord High Master. This was my fourth time seeing this young band, and they continue to impress me each time. Their set is filled with energy, technicality, and great hooks. It is reminiscent of southern metal/noisecore bands like The Chariot, Every Time I Die, or Norma Jean. It goes from fast punk/thrash parts to slow, sludgy, and heavy riffs. Feedback is obviously encouraged by a band like this to help enhance the down and dirty riffs as well as the punk rock attitude. But it is countered with great transitions and well thought out grooves. They get better every time I see them, and I look forward to their upcoming release.
Next up was the first band of the bill, Lord Dying. I was unfamiliar with them going into the show, so I was looking forward to catching their set. The place had already filled up for them, and I had to watch the set from the back. They are a sludge metal band from Portland, Oregon, and they have released two studio albums since 2013. Their music was exactly the kind you would expect from a band opening for Crowbar: Slow, heavy, and full of great riffs. They did not really engage with the audience too much during their set, aside from talking to them in between songs. During songs, the band members just focused on their playing and continued to head bang throughout. In turn, the venue was full of people headbanging along to the music. There was no moshing or pushing to the music, but you can tell that the audience enjoyed the set.
Up next was Battlecross from Detroit, Michigan. Battlecross is one of my favorite live bands of their kind. They play a mix of thrash and melodic death metal. Their show is full of energy and their music is full of great hooks and solos. Each member is extremely talented. The drumming is fast and on point. Don may be one of the most exciting bassists to watch as he shreds with his fingers, and Kyle (“Gumby”) is has a unique and memorable voice when he does highs and lows. Gumby is also a likable frontman as his banter between songs is often extremely humorous. Even though he was suffering a back injury, he pulled off the set as if the pain was not bothering him. They started the set with “Push Pull Destroy”, continued with songs like “My Vaccine”, “Flesh and Bone”, “Never Coming Back”, “Man of Stone”, and even threw in a new song from their upcoming album. The crowd responded excellent as the pit was full of moshing and headbanging. The band couldn’t help but smile at the reaction they were getting. As they left the stage, the crowd got into position for what was next.
Crowbar got onstage, and immediately people started pushing to the front. The band got ready with buckets of beer chilling onstage, and went straight into “Burn Your World”. It was my first time seeing Crowbar, and I did not know what to expect in terms of crowd reaction. I expected lots of headbanging, but did not expect there to be too much moshing. I was definitely wrong. The moshing started immediately and continued throughout the set. The band pulled out great song after great song, and the crowd continued to show their energy and scream along. I had some of my favorite Crowbar songs such as “Planets Collide”, “New Dawn”, To Build a Mountain”, “Cemetary Angels”, “Walk With Knowledge Wise”, and “Symmetry in White”. The use of dynamics came out great throughout the show, as the heavy parts were really deep and sludgy and the soft parts came out really atmospheric and full. The band even pulled out an amazing cover of “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin, which got the whole crowd screaming along. It was a great interpretation and I’m really glad they included it. Kirk was very personable throughout, making sure that the crowd was still into it and having a good time. He would crack jokes but still came off as being very humble. The set was a decent sized bunch of songs, and it seemed to satisfy the majority of the fans, which is a hard thing to do with a band who has such a big discography.
After the show, many people including the bands hung out by the bar, enjoying what a triumphant show it had turned out to be. There were also a handful of people who were in good spirits, because they knew that they were going to see it all over again in Hollywood the next night.