New Orleans’ own sludge metal kings, Crowbar, took the stage for their third live stream performance on February 20th. Their 14-song set conjured up an extensive range of songs that covered both popular staples and tracks that haven’t seen a set list since the time of their emergence in the early ’90s. Notorious for rowdy crowds and raging stage presences, the live-streamed set did not lack in powerful, crushing energy in the absence of a physical audience.
Beer cans lined the top of amps, and after a quick swig, the show was sent full speed ahead for opening track “Self-Inflicted.” A glowing, red backdrop reading “CROWBAR” lit up the small stage area, and the cameras switched from colorized to black and white, enhancing the grittiness of the set.
“We’re going to do something special for you tonight,” said Windstein, introducing “Waiting in Silence.” “Something off of the Obedience thru Suffering record. The first song we ever wrote.” The track was the rarest gem of the set, played live for the first time in over 20 years. The ominous minimalistic riffs spoke for themselves, and the punching bass drove home like a hungry beast trudging forward at its prey.
Another critical appearance, “New Man Born,” was played live for only the third time in the band’s 30-year history of performing. In a glimmer of a heartfelt moment, Windstein added with a sweet grin, “This goes out to my lovely wife Robin who can’t be here tonight because she’s working. So thank you, honey.” The mixture of a deepened slow pace and dark, brutal breakdowns by Crowbar are where doom and sludge collide. “New Man Born” proved just that as fingers swept across guitar and bass frets with quick intensity, accompanied by stout clamoring drums. During the Southern groove track “New Dawn,” the overhead camera angle scanned from above to view more massive crashing from drummer Tommy Buckley.
“Something off the Equilibrium record for you,” said Windstein as he primed the audience for “I Feel the Burning Sun.” The track is a faultless representation of the album released in 2000. Both lyrically and within the mire of the heavy instrumentals, the sound was akin to stomping on life’s demons; “Conquer it all!” he repeated in brooding, coarse vocals. Shane Wesley on bass divulged in a wicked grimace, rocking his head back and forth, long, wispy hair whipping with him.
The second leg of the set followed through with sought-after staple Crowbar songs. During “To Carry the Load,” guitarist Matt Brunson laid his head back and let his fingers do the talking as Windstein and Wesley stood facing each other, as if to duel it out. Each member was nodding their heads as the breakdown was set into motion. The fierce leading track “Walk with Knowledge Wisely,” of their 2014 release Symmetry in Black, had a relentless flow of ups and downs preceding the highest energy song of the set, “Cemetery Angels.” Both masterfully switched up from pure intense sludge to dexterous harcore speed.
As the show drew to a close, they couldn’t forget the infamously loved “Planets Collide” and “All I Had (I Gave).” Eye closed, the songs seemed like second nature after two decades of blasting through them on stages all over the world. “We really appreciate you so we can’t wait to see ya’ll in person live for a real fucking show,” said Windstein in his thick Louisiana accent. “Right now this is all we can do, and we’re happy to be doing it… We’re fucking Crowbar from New Orleans!”