By: Anne Marie Groves

First to take the stage that night was "The Seventh Cross" a five-piece band from Worcester, Uk.

The opening act has to rise to the often difficult challenge of warming up a cold expectant audience. These guys took it on with gusto and in a short space of time their performance pulled in the crowd.

The lead singer [Sheep] leapt from the stage into the centre of the slightly bemused crowd, jumping about singing dead into the faces of those standing around. He was certainly not to be ignored. His bandaged hand [as a result of a broken knuckle] did nothing to deter the enthusiasm of this guy. And I have to say that Jon, on bass, has to have one of the most pliable faces I have ever seen.

Unfortunately at some point during the tour their drummer left the band high and dry, but thanks to metal musician camaraderie, Tauri from Kingsize Blues, Kyle from Will Haven and Tommy from Crowbar stepped in and after little more than two hours had learned the Seventh Cross songs. The drummers stood in for Cross' AWOL percussionist for the duration of the tour thereby making it possible for Seventh Cross to continue the as part of the line up.

As a unit, Seventh Cross have a good hard sound, a young talented group with a unique voice. Their first full length album ‘Scorched By The Flames Of Vengeance’ is available from Candlelight Music’s UK web site.

During the latter part their set I was trying to resolve a technical glitch with one of our cameras when a heavy hand landed on my shoulder. Steve had found us. He was dressed in his usual tee and jeans, sporting a light coloured ski cap to keep his head warm. I shouldn’t wonder that he feels the cold now that he's buzzed off those long locks!


Steve, Kim and I went into the stage dressing room and chatted breifly, catching up and so forth. Steve seemed upbeat and apparently happy with the way the tour was going so far. Just before we went back to join the rest of the gathered throng, he dove a hand into his guitar case and gifted us each with one of his personalised guitar picks. As we'd hoped, Steve agreed to give stcgibb.com an interview and arrangements were made to meet with him the following day at the venue in Colchester.


Back in the main room, the second supporting act, Kingsize Blues, another UK based metal band, were about to take the stage. In my estimation theirs is not so much a sludge sound as pumping packed heavy guitar rock. The weighty drum beat drove the riffs and melodies perfectly as Tom screamed out the vocals in his inimitable style. They were quite dynamic and the audience, now warmed by alcohol and atmosphere, stood nodding and banging to their set.


As Crowbar and Will Haven were co-headlining this “Crushing The UK” tour, they alternated which of them closed each night. This night it would be Will Haven, so Crowbar was third on. There was a break of about fifteen minutes while the drum kits were changed over.

There grew an air of anticipation as recognised drums and guitars were placed on stage. Looking around the filled room [must have been close to 300 there] I noticed bodies started creeping forward in readiness.

The lights dimmed slightly then, with the force the 'mighty 'bar' is famous for the opening chords of ‘Conquering’ boomed from the stacked amps and were instantaneously greeted by cheers of recognition and delight. The crowd surged even closer to the stage enamoured to see their favoured performers. The lights rose radiantly to reveal the band, the sight of which only served to increase the mania at their feet.

Kirk's gravelled rasp sang out “Twisting all that I'm saying and doing …”. Hands, some clenched into fists, were thrust skyward. As the final chords faded the cheers grew.

Kirk, ever the showman, quipped and joked with the audience, whipping them further as they went into ‘New Dawn’. Tonight was the best live set I have ever heard Crowbar play. The sound set-up was perfect for the room [a testament to soundman James’ efforts] It made me wish I had a way to record the set in order to bottle the intensity of adrenalin and emotion from the crowd. It's been said many times but I'll say it again... Crowbar is as much felt as heard.

Before they started ‘Lasting Dose’ Kirk dedicated the song to two friends, saying “Many of you don’t know them but I did and I miss them”. I think he was referring to friends from his past who had died in sad circumstances and for whom he may have written the song.

The beginning of this particular tune requires Steve, Kirk and Pat to play single notes in synchronization, and they were so together it was hard to differentiate between them. The true sign of a tight group of musicians is when they are playing live they stay in unison, with impeccable timing, and all four of these guys have this. 

They're are good friends, who've developed the sixth sense of knowing the exact move the others are going to make. Stage presence cannot be choreographed. 'Lasting Dose' is one of my favourite Crowbar songs and it was expertly performed this night.

It's hot thirsty work onstage and Steve rips off the top of his water bottle and downs its contents in a few eager gulps. Tommy’s work on the cymbals heralds the faster paced ‘Self-Inflicted’. Harder attitude is exuded to the crowd with solid riffs and they respond eagerly.

No one can deny Kirk’s ability to make you laugh, smile, cheer and have a damn good time. He jokes with the crowd as he sinks his beer. His effortless skill on guitar make what he does look easier than it really is. Despite his talent and musical expertise Kirk manages to remain grounded and natural, not false or in any way pretencious.

‘Slave No More’ has to be the best track from their last album ‘Lifesblood For The Downtrodden’. Its fast paced beginning builds as each layer joins. With its simple chorus hook, it's just an awesome piece of writing.


During ‘Planets Collide’ I could clearly hear Steve’s vocals backing up Kirk’s at the end refrain. The crowd was continually cheering, shouting, whistling; they were loving it.

The crushing 50 minutes came to a close with ‘All I Had'. Steve and Kirk both moved to the front of the stage, Steve throwing his guitar end up on his thigh. They were so close to those at their feet that wandering fingers could have easily touched their instruments.

As the final notes reverberated, the guys laid down their weapons, and with a few parting words and a swipe across the hands of the fans they left the stage. Security appeared and lined the access from the stage to the dressing room, remaining there til the drum kit and guitars were safely taken away.

Crowbar, whether as a collective or as individual members are strongly respected by their followers and in return these guys are sociable to us. Prior to or after their set they can easily be found mingling with the crowd, posing for photographs, signing autographs or answering questions.

Early in the afternoon we went to scout out the venue. Despite several attempts to follow some sketchy-at-best directions from multimap we couldn’t find the place. In the end we took a more sensible route, (a save face way of saying we fucking gave up) returned to our 16th Century hotel, got ready and ordered a taxi to take us at the appropriate time.

Kim was convinced, as the taxi driver wove his way through cobbled pathways that eventually led to the Arts Centre building, that we never would have found the place on our own. The Arts Centre is set up in an old church and one with a famous past at that. It is said to be connected with the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.

The interior was astounding. The walls were lined with soundproofing materials and yet the commemorative memoriam plaques still showed through. Behind the stage was a magnificent stained glass window and the ceiling vaulted to black beams. The ornate stone pillars were crossed by lighting rails. Outside the small church yard complete with aged gravestones was highly atmospheric. The only thing the graveyard lacked to be the perfect setting for a hammer horror film set was creeping fog. 


Despite the sound proofing attempts, from outside you could clearly hear which song the bands were using for their sound checks and as workers trudged their way home they gave some curious and occasionally some disapproving glances toward the building and the collection of battered rusting vans parked outside.

While Kim was in the Managers Office talking with Steve I stayed back listening to Kingsize Blues and Will Haven doing their sound checks, during which they exceeded the decibel allowance for the building.

I learned some interesting facts and curious anecdotes from Greg, one of the drivers, one topic being why Norwich is rarely included in tour dates. Basically he said that Norwich was not very dependable as a venue location, not known for pulling sizable crowds. It was 'iffy' at best. Not exactly the best of news for the stcgibb.com staff as we are based in Norwich.

Kirk came over and said hi too, and I thanked him for putting us on his guest list both nights. We asked him to give our regards to his wife, Nicole, which he said he would do. 


The doors opened officially at 7pm and the amassed crowd entered eagerly. This was a different breed of audience from the Oxford gig the night before. Tonight they seemed to be younger, more of a punk and thrash mix than solely metal like those at Oxford.

The Seventh Cross lead singer Sheep sprang about the stage, jumping from the barrier in front of the stage into the crowd. I was concealed on the other side of a pillar but was found and treated to an 'in your face' line or two. Again there were bemused looks on some faces but others moshed and entered the spirit. The band paid tribute to the drummers of the other acts, thanking them profusely for their assistance in bailing them out when their drummer quit mid-tour.

Kingsize did another excellent set, and judging by the rapturous feedback they had some fans in the audience. They thanked all involved in the tour and acknowledged they had had an excellent time and thanked Crowbar for teaching them so many things.

By the time Will Haven took to the stage the room was pretty jammed. It was obvious that the co-headliners were the attraction. Even though the room looked crowded they packed closer and there seemed to be hoards more stream in.

Will Haven hail from Sacramento, California and have toured in the past with such acts as The Deftones, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. Lead singer, Grady Avenell doesn't fit the stereotype of the average heavy metal lead singer in appearance, but he's damn good at what he does. The tempo fluctuation in many Will Haven tunes serves to stir the audience into a fine line frenzy. During their set on this night the heat seemed to rise, the sweat in the air thickened and the cheers of the crowd increased. Kim, up front against the barrier, got a full on view of Grady's fit torso as he stepped up on the wall that separated the performers from their frenzied fans.

Crowbar’s stage entrance was heralded by riotous roars from the crushing crowd as Kirk raised his beer in greeting. Kirk shouted his welcome to Colchester, the mass cheer bellowed and Kirk smiled. Calling for quiet he gave his verdict. “That was so …… Gay” his soft, deep tones dragging the vowel sounds, his cheeky smile bringing laughter and smiles. By the crowd's third attempt to please 'the old man' the volume was semi-ear splitting. I guess that was the audience vocal warm up.