Cellar Door Moon Crow were supporting Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind this evening and they gave us their unique gritty sound –White Stripes and Black Keys mixed together with a sprinkle of Beastie Boys for good measure. This two-piece is made up of two brothers: Tom and Phil Goodwin who hail from Sheffield. Tom plays the drums, piano, harmonica and everything in between while Phil sings and plays the guitar.
Through the green smoke, they started the night with whining guitar into heavy drums with Whistler, a track from their recently released EP. A chugging song with a hint of sassy psychedelia. The singer blasted out a gritty rap with a Beastie Boys vibe – more fast vocals than hip hop with roaring guitar for rhythm.
‘Take me by the hand
try to understand
never let go never let go’
The rap continues, sung through a Green Bullet Harmonica mic to create contrast. The verses are sweetly spoken in contrast to the hard and heavy beat of the chorus.
Slowing right down with drums and guitar suggest a heartbeat. The audience were pulled along and hushed to hear the final silence.
Backlash is a high-energy song of which there is a video online. Heavy distortion behind Phil’s growling lyrics plays over a heavy drum beat. Phil shouts out, ‘Don’t fear, don’t fear the backlash’ whipping the audience up into a frenzy.
Whose Way was dedicated tonight to Ali Ellis – the band booker at The Plug, who secured their slot at BBC Music Day 2016. (She died of cancer leaving a husband and two children and a legacy of bands who will be forever grateful for her time and commitment.) This track swings along on guitar and ‘with little brother Tommy on keys.’ A Led Zeppelin influence here throughout. Phil rumbles ‘Won’t you help me try to find my way?’ A slower pace gently chugs on the guitar building up to a heavier ‘ch-ch-ch’ as Phil shouts out his lyrics.
Forgiveness starts with an electronic ‘Can’t keep me down/ Turn me up – up’ before launching into raging guitar chords. Rap within raging distortion with a contrasting verse:
‘Won’t you go down to the river wash your hands from the dirt
Rid me of the pain and the fear and the hurt and breath’
Another contrast again with rap and echoing distortion yet with a distinctly different feel this time.
Tightrope’s sexy grinding sound on drums and growling guitar are distinctly different and Phil’s cellar-dark side is unleashed here:
You give me high hopes
When I take the tightrope
And I will get to you’
Cinnamon Girl starts with a real railroad sound on harmonica and the judding of rhythm guitar before launching into a much heavier rock sound, the boys barely visible through a blue and purple haze.
Their encore is Zepace to finish, a mash-up of ‘Bring it On Home’ by Led Zeppelin and ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ by The Weekends. Hugely popular with the crowd, Phil balances precariously on the edge of the stage playing high-speed rhythms before slowing to a steady heartbeat. Tom’s harmonica makes an appearance once more to complete this ever-popular track.
Cellar Door Moon Crow are finding a distinctly unique sound through mash-up and experimentation of their influences. It shouldn’t work but it really does. The tracks stay with you long after the clubs are closed and their dedication and hard work is evident through their tireless reworking and blending of these contrasting styles.