Sheffield O2 Academy, April 16 2017

Apparently selecting their rock and roll moniker from a random band name generator, Crow Black Chicken might sound like the lovechild of Ozzy Osbourne and the Robinson brothers but this is a trio with an identity all of its own.

Earlier in the day there had been a strong hint of something special to come when Christy O’Hanlon, Stephen McGrath and Gev Barrett strode onto the second stage to deliver a heartwarming acoustic set perfect for curing that Saturday night hangover.

But fully plugged Crow Black Chicken are a different animal and their electric set mixed the dark with the light (hearted) to create a perfect tapestry of heavy blues.

O’Hanlon has a sense of humour so dry it makes fans thirsty. Thirsty for more of his hilarious tales, affecting anecdotes and reminders of that soothing Southern Irish drawl. And that’s before he’s started singing.

As a vocalist Crow Black Chicken’s main man never appears to push himself too hard and yet the second stage crowd was treated to one of the most emotive performances of the weekend. Dredging up a mix of prescient social commentary and historical references from deep inside his creative consciousness, O’Hanlon means what he sings and sings what he means.

McGrath and Barrett, meanwhile, provide the rock solid foundation for this bullish band and as a unit their instinctive, intuitive musicianship shines brightly. It’s about time a far wider audience was treated to the fantastic peculiarities of a Crow Black Chicken show. And to some of the best tee-shirts on the planet.


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