Live Review: Those Damn Crows & The Cruel Knives, Leeds Stylus. 12th October 2023

Rock, rock and more rock was the order of the night on this midweek encounter with these two out and out rapidly growing and evolving rock ensembles. As the doors opened, and the minutes ticked past towards show time, the cavernous Stylus rapidly filled up with all manner of rockers with each one of them having just one intention firmly emblazoned on their minds, and that was to simply lose themselves in the guitar driven midst of this glorious evening.

First up, and off with one hell of a bang, were The Cruel Knives and boy they were out to prove a point to everyone in attendance. They hit the insanely confined space that they were to call home for their brief shift with passion and venom, energy and fervour. Harris commanded from the centre of the stage for the majority of the set, branching out to the wings when space allowed, weaving in between the string consultants and the modest drum kit with dexterity and precision, projecting his vocals with power and a simple clinical hunger and appetite. Junior was like a mutant, pounding and beating his kit to within an inch of its life, his dedication to the kit and the passion for his trade was clearly evident and palpable via the shaking of the ground on which we all stood. All too briefly the set was drawing to a close with the band evidently humbled and exhausted, with the response they had received from the nigh on capacity Yorkshire crowd and the shift they had just poured so enthusiastically into the Leeds venue respectively, the rapture they received only went on to prove testament to the quality of a set they had just delivered.

As Those Damn Crows hit the stage it was reminiscent of a hero’s welcome, the crowd went absolutely crazy and unleashed a roar which proffered no respite and just got louder and louder as the evening progressed. ‘Send The Reaper’, ‘Take Down’ and ‘Lay It All On Me’ were potent in their delivery and toxic in their attractiveness and catchy cores. Greenhall was like a rabid dog, stalking and pouncing to within an inch of his life, commanding the crowd with fluidity and a familiarity which was so natural it seemed as if this was simply a reunion of The Crows and a thousand of their closest friends and family. The number of Crow shirts on display in the crowd was simply sublime and emotionally triggering with just how adored and loved these Welsh rockstars are within the Leeds rock fan fraternity. Winchurch and Shiner both seemed to simultaneously ignite on ‘Blink Of An Eye’ and the orders from ‘Sin On Skin’ fed their way through the atmosphere to Huxford which saw him turn it up to an eleven in the battering ranks. As the set then closed out with ‘See You Again’, it was simple irony as I’m sure after tonight’s response we will see the Welsh contingent in Leeds in the not too distant future and following that knockout rendition there were rapturous applauds, cheers and pleads from the gathered masses simply begging for some more from the headliners tonight, but it simply wasn’t to be, the time had come for the house lights to illuminate once more and as the evenings cold air beckoned the near sell out crowd into its arms, it was obvious that ‘Those Damn Crows’ are certainly destined for bigger and bigger venues and bigger and bigger stages worldwide, period.

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