‘Wow. I think that’s the most instruments I’ve seen up there,’ said organiser, Mike Hoare, referring to the array Roving Crows had laid out in the performance area prior to the commencement of this Warthog Promotions show in The Old Ship Inn, Lowdham.
‘I’m not sure where the band are going to fit!’ He may well have wondered, as on display were a range of guitars, fiddle, 5 and 6 string bass guitars, bongos, drums and synth drums. He needn’t have worried,. It was a bit of a squeeze but the band managed perfectly and used all the instruments to full effect..
At first glance, Roving Crows seemed much like any other folk inspired quartet. The first tune-set, Up Heaval, was very much in the tradition, if with some atmospheric echo over Caitlin Barrett’s fiddle. However, it was when the rhythm section of Tim Downes-Hall (percussion) and Loz Shaw (bass) kicked in that the Crows’s unique fusion grooves became evident.
“From the off audience members were clapping and stamping along to complement the groups own beats. When Celtic fiddle and guitar riffs were played there was even the odd whoop to be heard.”
From the off audience members were clapping and stamping along to complement the groups own beats. When Celtic fiddle and guitar riffs were played there was even the odd whoop to be heard!
Paul O’Neil (vocals and lead guitar) used Passing On the Love as a springboard into his revelation that he had given up a more a conventional career to take a risk on music. He also majored on the philosophy of living for the now which resurfaced at several points in the show. Much of the repertoire was penned by O’Neil who segued between the ‘talk singing’ of a troubadour, as in Journeyman’s Blues, vocal tones of The Velvet Underground’s John Cale in If I Had To Choose, and the archetypal folk singer on many others.
Barrett’s Riverside saw her take lead and certainly passed the ‘old grey whistle test’ with audience members singing the refrain well after the song had finished. Another highlight was Refugee, performed over a Ska backbeat, and which features on new CD, Bury Me Naked.
Hedonistic, Days In The Sun, and lively tune-set Fire Sky rounded off the main gig before the Crows encored with a trio of covers.
Barrett led on Ride On, the mournful Jimmy McCarthy track perhaps most famously sung by Christy Moore. Things were then cranked up with Charlie Daniels’s The Devil Went Down To Georgia and The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues. A cracking finish.