A packed crowd on Crack The Sky’s third show of the weekend at the intimate and wonderful Rams Head on Stage (Annapolis, MD) this weekend shows that the demand for these beloved local-ish classic rockers lives on.
Before the show an usher asked about the legendary defunct Baltimore venue Hammerjacks before the conversation shifted to the The Bayou, a defunct DC club that had also hosted many amazing rock shows back in the day. It only makes sense this dialogue would be started at a Crack The Sky show. It’s wonderful that these venues live on in the stories and music that were witnessed there.
The show began with the track “Nuclear Apathy” from 1978’s Safety in Numbers. The stand out song from early on in the set was “Hold On” from the band’s self-titled debut that came out in ‘75 and was infamously declare debut album of the year by Rolling Stone. “Hold On” engaged the crowd in a loud sing along from absolutely everyone in the intimate venue.
The divine prog rock riffs eliminate any possible gap in time; The songs stand in a league of their own for musicians, especially guitarists, everywhere. One of the most impressive qualities of the band is the insane instrumental parts and ripping dual guitar solos that seamlessly transition right into the next songs. This is entertaining music at its finest with riff changes, unconventional song structures and harmonies that put the songs in a world of their own.
“Skin Deep” is the ideal prog rock jam song that also maintains a pop catchiness in its recurring vocal hook and back up harmonies. The song transports you back in time while also being the perfect rock music for absolutely any period.
The only strange moment of the show comes with a newer song that has a drum machine backing track. Drummer Joey D’Amico was a bit puzzled at the tempo and struggles to hear the track but eventually the song comes to a better sounding and more cohesive second half.
Each musician is not only a respective virtuoso on their main instrument but multi-talented as well. Drummer Joey D’Amico stepped out to sing a few numbers that were quite moving, such as the heartfelt acoustic number “Long Nights”.
Occasional glances from the band members towards each other provided that feeling of maybe slight disbelief of how the years had passed… but those feelings seemed to be met with a smile, a few seconds later, as if to say, look at what we have created and how many loyal fans we still have decades on.
A nearly two and a half hour show left everyone dazzled.
Closing the set the ever strong “She’s a Dancer” and a rousing rendition of “Surf City” with snippets of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed” and Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise” as a tribute to two great fallen musicians this year – the final jam lead to guitarist Rick Witkowski stepping off stage to solo right in front of numerous fans. It was incredible and the positive energy was contagious.
An encore of the 1980 White Music track “Hot Razors in My Heart” led the crowd to another thunderous singalong and massive applause when the song came to an end.
Thanks, Crack The Sky for being the area band that lives on in our hearts as well as many fans across the world. The band shows that there will always be a demand for the sensational music they have been making since the 70s.