The Cobblestones venue is located in Bridgwater in the heart of Somerset, UK. It is owned and ran by Graham Hodgson who has his finger on the pulse and is a music fan himself as I regularly bump into him at other venues. His place has some class acts going through, recently DOYLE from Misfits, Hed p.e. and Black Orchid Empire have all rocked the stage. Later in the year Our Hollow Our Home and Holding Absence and many others are due to play, so check it out. I’ve started this review like this to hopefully encourage fans to get out to shows and make people aware that even a few big venues in Bristol are under threat of closing due to corporate ideas and renovations. We need to stand up and show our support so just get out there and enjoy yourselves.
My timing tonight could not have been more perfect getting there just before Black Map hit the stage, I’ve been aware of their name as they have recently taken Black Orchid Empire on tour in Europe. This California based band kicked straight in with “Let Me Out” and damn immediately I noticed the drummer Chris Robyn formerly of the band Far, he doesn’t mess around behind the kit. This guy has stamina and power for days and he maintained it through the whole set. Vocalist and bassist Ben Flanagan was on point, I can’t stress enough how perfect of a vocal delivery he unleashed. Mark Engles supplied the driving riffs with a guitar tone which pulled you in. If you are a fan of A Perfect Circle then these guys have a similar feel but are in no way a copycat. Thanks to drummer Chris he could tell I wanted to go and shoot some close ups and waved me up between songs so I nestled in a corner of the stage and shot. They played many other bombshells such as “Gold”, “Ruin” and finishing with one of their more popular singles “Run Rabit Run”. Black Map are one of my favorite bands to watch live after experiencing this full performance so lets get behind these fellas and help them make history.
Ahh the nostalgia that Crazytown brings. I got a promo copy of ‘The Gift of Game’ album back in 1999. This was when nu-metal was huge and it was well received by droves of fans, including me personally. All the people talked about was “Butterfly” but I have especially enjoyed songs like “Toxic” and “Only When I’m Drunk”.
As soon as these guys got on stage the energy was phenomenal. Bass player Hasma Angeleno was going off with loads of style, holding the bass upside down and bending backwards in limbo poses and yoga style moves. This rock hard non-stop touring band gave 100% and showed no signs of slowing down through the whole set. Shifty on vocals was on form tonight and you could tell he was enjoying every second, grinning from ear to ear whilst fans in the audience were showing their appreciation from the get go. Punching straight in with “Battlecry” from the album ‘Dark Horse’, then throwing in classics like “Toxic” and “Only when I’m drunk”. “Darkside” from debut album ‘The Gift of Game’. The guitarist was a breath of fresh air and musicians that move around like this guy did make a great night greater. Half way through the drummer and bass player did their own little collaboration whilst Shifty and the guitarist retreated to the back of the stage. This was not the cringe type of a solo thing, they played a solid drum and bass piece for a couple minutes to the highest caliber and the crowd appreciated the talented rhythm duo, which holds this great band together. Shifty and the guitarist joined back in to play 6 more tracks and yes, as if there was any question they closed their set with “Butterfly” and why wouldn’t they as this track is what really stamped their authority on the nu-metal scene back in the day.
Well anyone in the UK or visiting the UK have another chance to catch Crazy Town. They are playing the iconic Fat Lip Festival in the city of Bristol on July 28th 2018. Make sure you catch them live because in my opinion that is where Crazy Town come “alive” you don’t get the full energy on by hearing the music digitally or on disc, it’s best heard and seen live and in the flesh.