Counting Crows - Live At Colston Hall, Bristol

With support from Lucy Rose
Counting Crows - Live At Colston Hall, Bristol

It could have been a bit of a comedown. Bristol is in the throes of a hectic city-wide noise-fest called Hit The Deck as Clash sets off gig-wards, frenetic rock blaring from numerous venues, even an open side doorway of the nearby O2. Instead, we pitch up at the luxurious Colston Hall, where Lucy Rose perches on a stool, strums a guitar and points that her own brand of tea is available in the foyer.

Thankfully it turns out to be thoroughly diverting – the tunes and the tea (a tough but tender blend of builders brew and Earl Grey) – as Rose has a rocking band in tow for these, her biggest ever gigs, on tour with Counting Crows.

“You guys are so quiet!” she says, intending it as a compliment, what with most support acts having to fight to be heard above the yapping. Instead she has the novel problem of an already virtually full Colston Hall clapping furiously but often in the wrong places, due to her penchant for a false ending.

Particularly potent is the new song she debuts halfway through, written on tour and rich of riff and bassline, while ‘Bikes’ remains a corking closer. She’s clearly won a sizeable clump of new fans here.

Counting Crows’ charismatic lead singer Adam Duritz had given her a handy head start, in truth, wandering on at curtain-up to introduce her set, which does wonders for getting a crowd onside. Now into his 20th year of worldwide fame, Duritz is an engaging figure generally.

Not always a contented soul offstage (he admits during one song introduction to being “fucking nuts” for a while) he’s clearly as happy as Larry on it, secure in the knowledge that at any given moment he can throw in an old classic and make a massive venue like this go absolutely apeshit mental.

Not that the Crows just crank out a greatest hits set – far from it, as they omit arguably their two best-known songs, while the ebullient singer just points his mic at the front row rather than ploughing through a few of the other old choruses that presumably now bore him to tears, which seems to suit everyone concerned.

That said, the songs he clearly does still like are often extended almost to breaking point, via much self-indulgent fret-wankery from the umpteen guitarists peppering the stage. ‘Round Here’ in particular sparks delirium, then dulls it considerably by dragging on for about 10 minutes.

Hey, Crows – we’re counting.

 

Words by Si Hawkins

 

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