The day after a Crowbar show, everything sounds muffled. There might be a lingering taste of blood in your mouth. Undoubtedly everything smells faintly of sweat and beer. Your neck and upper body aches and everything feels like a low roar, and that’s how you know you worshipped at the feet of the one and only Kirk Windstein last night.
Tuesday’s show at the Gothic Theater was one of the hardest, loudest and sludgiest tours to hit all year, with brutal opening sets from Armed For Apocalypse, Fit For An Autopsy, Havok and Revocation. Three straight hours of vocal cord-scraping metal just whetted the appetite for Crowbar though, who took the stage right before 11pm in a crushing sonic blanket of feedback and downtuned distortion.
Frontman and guitarist Windstein, who recently left Down to focus fulltime on Crowbar, has always been one of the nicest guys in heavy metal, and the heavily bearded guitarist hung out by the merch booth during the opening sets, happily chatting and taking pictures with fans. Few headliners ever show their face before their set, and it was a classy move by Kirk even before he set foot on stage.
Pounding beers and letting open notes echo across the Gothic’s painted ceiling, Kirk and his band amped the volume up to 11,000 by ripping into several songs from this summer’s new album Symmetry In Black. A small but eager mosh pit quickly opened while other fans crammed against the barricade for the fullest, most face-melting blast of amplified, palm-muted, eardrum-destroying New Orleans sludge metal.
The meat of the set came five or six songs into the night, with Planets Collide followed by one of the slowest, heaviest song of all time, The Lasting Dose. Kirk played the song’s intro even slower than on the album, and fans lost their minds as he bellowed through the verses, making eye contact with the crowd as he projected the rawest rage.
If the late hour bothered anyone at the Gothic, they didn’t show it once during the hour-long Crowbar set. Fans enthusiastically sang along until the very end, tearing through classic favorites like High Rate Extinction, All I Had I Gave, and usual encore I Have Failed, all while basking in waves of sonic excess in its purest form pumping from the band’s guitars.
The number of Down t-shirts in the crowd attested to the love metal fans have for Kirk and all his projects, and his new focus on Crowbar promises a bright (or is it dark?) future for the riff god’s music. Supported by high energy opening acts and the almighty power of open-C downtuning, Tuesday night’s show was a lethal dose of metal gluttony, and no one left unrocked.
As Crowbar heads west, fans should rest easy knowing that fellow NOLA sludgemasters Eyehategod are booked to play the Summit Theater next Thursday, Oct 2, and their friends and bandmates in Down will swing through the Summit in mid-December as well. With bands like GWAR, Slipknot and Opeth also on their way here, there’s never been a better time to be a die hard metalhead in Denver.