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The Crobar
Volume One Tony Sylvester , April 24th, 2009 11:12

Ah, the Crobar: a former knocking shop and tranny shack which has become a sort of Groucho for the hirsute and uncouth. Cheers with Malcom Dome and Jerry Ewing replacing Cliff and Norm. Over the past eight years, this bijou, L-shaped Soho bar has become the go-to destination for dedicated denim-clad rock warriors and vicarious thrill-seekers alike.

And what a treat awaits them. Where else could one find a shirtless man quaffing Jagermeister straight from the tap while a spurned midget manically chases last night's conquest around the barstools? Or professional Will Farrell lookalike Chad Smith unsuccessfully attempting to badger any female in spitting distance into coitus, as Dave Grohl is unceremoniously kicked out the fire escape? There's beer, bourbon — a LOT of bourbon — and a near legendary jukebox. Mirroring genial owners Rick Thomas and Steve Horne's personal tastes, with scant regard for innovation, fashion or mainstream pandering, it's from this magical box of treats that this double CD is culled.

All the major food groups are present and accounted for: unwavering Classic Rock (Motorhead, Alice Cooper, Skynyrd, Priest); Mid-80's thrash pioneers (Sacred Reich, DRI, Testament, Exodus); heavy-as-balls down-tuned thrills (Down, Clutch, The Obsessed, Iron Monkey, Kyuss); and perennial bar propper-uppers (Orange Goblin, Gentlemans Pistols, Taint, Cathedral). In fact, Cathedral's Lee Dorrian is such a fixture and fitting that one can only imagine that he actually lives in a purple teepee behind the bins. Hell, even Monster Magnet's Stooges-plus-ProTools silliness, 'Powertrip', sounds sterling in this environment.

My only gripe is entirely selfish. I want more. There's certain songs that elicit such powerful Pavlovian responses that I would love to have seen them included. I only have to hear Pete Townsend's juddering powerchord intro to 'The Seeker' and there I am: atop the bar, strutting, giddy on whisky. Bad Company's lumpen boogie number 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love' will forever be tainted by an inebriated lapdance from Capricorns' Nathan Bennett. And nothing quite stirs the heart like dozens of air guitars soloing in unison to Thin Lizzy's 'Emerald'. But that's the Crobar: surreal, silly, hammered nights with the perfect soundtrack. Roll on volume two.

The Author is a former member of cult hardcore group Dukes of Nothing. He is now official moustache waxer and coffee maker at Southern Records. The picture below shows him (centre) enjoying one of the noted beverages on sale in the Crobar.