To say I was dubious about 36 Crazyfists would perhaps be the biggest understatement I have heard in quite some time. I wouldn’t call myself a fan, and from what I’d heard I was seriously worried about my wellbeing. Three drinks later and I was ready and headed on through Digbeth to the Barfly, once part of the legendary Sanctuary. The venue as a whole is currently closed for renovations after being bought by the Barfly’s parent company MAMA, with a promise to create a flagship music venue for the city. This didn’t stop the hardcore fans in their masses rocking up to the dingy Barfly ready to mosh and get messy.
On arriving, I was greeted by a fan who advised me to go into a quiet pub where singer Brock Lindow was having a few pre-show drinks with as many fans as he could and seemed to be engrossed in Eastenders on the huge plasma screen fitted over the bar. Through his use of profanities, beard and tattoos he seemed excited commenting going on tour, ‘does not get old,’ which is a good thing really, promoting their new album ‘Oculus’ through most of the country, Europe and then over 40 dates across America and Canada.
Supported by Exit Ten, a 5 piece band from Reading who describe their music style as ‘progressive metal;’ this year they will release their first full-length album following up ‘This World They’ll Drown,’ the mini-album released in 2006. Exit Ten delivered a high energy and quite emotive performance, the songs captured something, they were clearly quite heavy, I was prepared for this but I was not expecting to be drawn in so much to the emotion behind the song. The strong grinding guitar riffs and metal drum beats were in stark contrast, yet complemented singer Ryan Redman’s awesome vocal talent, soothing as it is powerful. Clearly a band that uses myspace as a method of promotion, he must have mentioned the word ‘myspace’ at least 10 times.
36 Crazyfists stormed the stage to a rapture of manly applause. This may have been far too heavy for my liking but I soon got on board, nodding my head in time with the thumping drum beats. Brock Lindow’s screams came from the gut, his passion for heavy hardcore rock echoed through Birmingham’s Barfly whilst being filmed from at least 3 different cameras dotted around the venue.
There literally was a sea of hands trying to touch the singer whose confident swagger came from the clear appreciation of the audience. This however, went both ways, the band thanked the audience countless times for their support over the fourteen years the band has been together. Brock shouted ‘thank you to you guys for selling this show out, anyone wants a handshake, shot or a pint come on over.’
On mentioning their performance at the Download festival this coming weekend, the singer seemed dubious to grace the main stage, but again, very appreciative of their fans support. It was clear their main concern was their impressive loyalty to the fans, when about to perform one of their better known tracks ‘destroy the map,’ Brock invited a member of the audience on stage to sing with them, giving the star struck fan his own microphone, making him, for one song, part of the band, congratulating him on his courage… ‘That took a lot of nuts dude.’
A two song encore concluded their hour long set, commencing moshing like I had never seen; the ‘Birmingham circle pit’ was brutal. Sweat dripping from tattooed rockers literally pummelling each other into the ground.
36 Crazyfists delivered a high energy, heavy performance clearly showing their passion for both the music, and to their fans. Brock and the rest of the band thanked the crowd for ‘coming out on a school night,’ retiring off the stage, leaving Birmingham’s rock scene satisfied for another night.
Review – Kiran Brach
Photos – Lucy Pryor