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Crowbar, Black Tusk @ Santos Party House

Story and photos by Jess Blumensheid

. . .

The evening air is brisk, and wheeling riffs and a looming breakdown linger in the tight space of Santos Party House. I arrive during A Life Once Lost’s set. Not much has changed since I left them onstage at age 15. The setup reminds me of my youthful hardcore days, but this setting is far from nostalgic. It is evident the crowd, bald-headed dirtbags and tight pants aside, is here for the Southern grime of Crowbar.

But first come Savannah’s Black Tusk with a mile long of beard and hair. Aside from moments of battling the sound guy, Black Tusk attack their set with energy. When guitarist Andrew Fidler and bassist Jonathon Athon aren’t dancing with their instruments, they do so with each other, shredding together face-to-face. Plenty of material from Taste the Sin fills their set. In the middle of it all, the smell of green leaf permeates from behind me. Drummer James May pipes up, “What the smell is going on out there?”

It could only mean one thing: Crowbar. The crowd lets out a boisterous “Yeeahhh!” as Kirk Windstein walks onstage. They begin the hefty set with “Conquering,” and fans let loose. By the third song, sweat spots members’ faces, and in the case of bassist Patrick Bruders, it pours. The warmth rubs off on the crowd. It is a testament to Crowbar’s two decades-strong life.

I believe there’s a longevity that comes with playing slow(er) music. A sludge grandaddy who has worked since the ’80s, Windstein proves that point religiously as his band prepares for the 2011 release of Sever the Wicked Hand. How Windstein keeps going isn’t hard to figure. You can see his passion soak his towel between songs. Maybe his real secret is in the bottles of non-alcoholic Clausthaler on top of his amp. But then Windstein shouts out to the guy who traveled from California to see his band, and he smiles. Then you figure, that’s it. “Give me some more of that fake shit,” he says, as he reaches for another Clausthaler.

— Jess Blumensheid

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Remaining dates

Dec. 14 – Little Rock @ Downtown Music
Dec. 15 – Tulsa, OK @ The Marquee
Dec. 16 – Amarillo, TX @ El Cien
Dec. 17 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
Dec. 18 – Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse (No Black Tusk)

. . .

Crowbar – “The Cemetery Angels”
from Sever the Wicked Hand
out February 8, 2011

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