The Crimson Star Live @ The Roadhouse – 20th August 2014


It has been a busy few weeks in the life of The Crimson Star. They played their first ever acoustic show, released a brand new EP called No Ordinary Love  and to top things off they even gave said new EP its own launch show.

The acoustic show at the Yardbird was a step into the unknown, and something that took the band out of their comfort zone but on Wednesday night the contrast couldn’t have been starker .Gone were the delicate intricate melodies of the week or so before and in their place the band returned to the roaring riffs and soaring guitar solos which have made them so popular on the live circuit over the last year or so.

The set opened with a monstrous rendition of ‘One Summer’s Day.’ There were mega riffs and hair flying everywhere, the pace was just frenetic. The audience were shown in no uncertain terms what this set was going to be all about and judging by the cheers that greeted the songs finale they were more than fine with that.

The opening to the following ‘Some Other Way’ sounded slower than usual but this dip in pace was incredibly brief. The track is full throttle at the best of times and tonight was no exception. In my experience the band always switch things up for their live shows and really go hell for leather. The result is that the songs take on a slightly different feel. Let’s put it this way when you’re heading back to your car at the end of the night you know you’ve been to a proper rock gig.

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Threats from the band about slowing things down and playing a ballad next proved totally unfounded as they launched into ‘A Darker Shade,’ which is the closing track from the new EP. Much of the bands newer material has a more melodic tint to it but this track is more of a continuation of what brought them this far. It’s low on frills but high on energy and as with the rest of the performance the musicianship is first class. You can always tell when a band has put in the work in the practice room and these guys certainly have. They have improved every time I have seen them over the course of the last 8 months or so and I don’t think that you can ask for much more than that.

‘Coercion’ demonstrates this new more melodic edge for all of about 10 seconds until the big riffs and bigger drum rhythms return. The Sabbath style breakdowns which lead up to the chorus which impressed so much on the EP translate incredibly well to the live arena and the track will remain my favourite for some time to come. The only slight blip on the radar was that some of the audience interaction between songs wasn’t been as slick as it could have been while again attempts to get the crowd involved fell a little bit flat. However this is hardly a disaster and nothing that can’t be smoothed out in the future.

A powerful slice of ‘No Ordinary Love’ was up next, the highlight of which was a sterling guitar solo from Mr Dave Musson which put a massive rock style exclamation point on what was one of the high points of the entire set. Closing track ‘The Greed Effect’ ensured that the band went out in typically unapologetic hard rocking fashion. It was a fitting end to what had been a quite thunderous performance.

Musically this may well have been the best that I had seen The Crimson Star play, they are such a tight band and as a result everything flows together really well. Of course as I mentioned above there is always room for improvement as a band will never deliver the perfect performance but those slight niggles really shouldn’t detract from what was another really good set.

There are an absolute stack of rock bands currently doing their bit to put the West Midlands back on the musical map and while you may not have heard of them (Yet) The Crimson Star are right up there helping lead the charge.

All photographs come courtesy of justclairephotography.


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