MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2
Review by Graene Wright
I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of Inhale/Exhale, the new album from Those Damn Crows. I described it as a potential game changer for the band to Singer Shane Greenhall when we spoke recently and at the time of writing the album is amazingly sitting at number three in the UK album charts.
This live show was originally booked for Manchester Academy 3 and sold out almost immediately. It was then moved to Academy 2, but in reality with the band’s current momentum, they would have easily sold out the full Academy venue.
So, on to the bad news. This venue was massively oversold to the point of it being uncomfortably overcrowded.
Quite a few people had to leave during the set and there were comments from people in the middle of the auditorium about being unable to move in any direction due to being packed in so tightly. People’s enjoyment shouldn’t be spoiled by venues trying to cram as many people as possible into a single room like this.
Those Damn Crows entered the stage at around 9:30 pm and were greeted like conquering heroes returning from the battlefield. They launched straight into ‘Fill The Void’ from the new album and by the end of the song they were all grinning from ear to ear at the reception they’d received. The band plough straight into ‘Wake Up(Sleepwalker) and while it’s obvious that the new record has been beautifully produced by Dan Weller, it’s clear that the songs are still perfect for the Crows live show and are full of energy and power. ‘ Sick of Me’ follows and has always been a crowd favourite, with the audience singing along and punching the air to a brilliant and powerful track that needs no introduction to anybody here. ‘Kingdom Of Dust’ is up next with Shane prowling the stage confidently, engaging with the crowd and his fellow band mates who are all at the top of their game tonight, all the while feeding off the energy from the audience.
‘Sin On Skin’ is the band’s most popular song by a country mile on the streaming sites and is given an exemplary performance from the band, while the crowd are becoming feverish and sweaty – if there was any room at all in here they’d have probably started a mosh pit! ‘Blink Of An Eye’ is a melodic mid-paced rocker and it’s during this slightly more relaxed song that you can appreciate the musical ability of every band member, all of who look like they’ve been waiting for a long time to get back out on the road. ‘Who Did It’ is another classic track from this band who haven’t put a foot wrong on any of their three full-length albums. The audience is in heaven, punching the air, making the devil horns sign and bellowing the chorus out while the singer points his microphone towards the massed throng.
‘Send The Reaper’ keeps the crowd at a fever pitch and we move straight into ‘Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead’, another early Crows track that everyone in here knows word for word. ‘Go Get It’ is powered through and it’s straight into ‘Takedown’, a brilliant track from the new album that sounds awesome live. ‘Man On Fire’ has the crowd bouncing and then it’s into ‘Waiting For Me’, also from the new album. It’s unusual for bands to fill a set with so many songs from a new record, but Those Damn Crows know what they’ve got with this album as every track is top quality and all are perfectly suited for the live arena.
‘This Time I’m Ready’ follows. It’s a song about bereavement, loss and hope and is the best song the band have ever written. It was originally written about the loss of Shane’s Dad to cancer but as some of the other guys in the band lost family members it became an important starting point for the band to start the discussion about coping with loss amongst their tightly strung unit. It had a strong emotional response from me on the first listen and tonight was no different. A beautiful, affecting song.
‘See You Again’ finishes the set for the evening and is the most mainstream sing-along song the band have ever recorded. I’m certain that we will see this band again to paraphrase the song, but there’s no chance it will be in a venue of this size. The sky is the limit for these boys, one of the albums of the year and one of the best live shows I’ve seen in a long, long time.
- Fill The Void
- Wake Up
- Sick Of Me
- Kingdom Of Dust
- Sin On Skin
- Blink Of An Eye
- Who Did It
- Send The Reaper
- Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead
- Go Get It
- Man On Fire
- Waiting For Me
- This Time I’m Ready
- See You Again