Five years ago, the members of the Black Birds were just starting college in Santa Cruz and looking for a band to rock out in on the weekends.
Now, they are mostly all out of college, and still rocking hard. Fortified with an hour of original material, and a couple of hours of covers, they play the Crow’s Nest Saturday.
“We were all in the same dorm area together. We started playing music together. It took off from there,” says guitarist/vocalist Nick Crow. “We decided to stick around and play some more music together. We’re having a good time.”
The group initially connected over their love of the Beatles (hence the band’s name), but the music is more hard rock, with influences like Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age, and Pink Floyd. But the element that shines through the most are those ’70s powerhouse blues-rock power chords.
“We draw a majority of our influence from a Led Zeppelin place. It starts with a riff, and it goes from there. We see what the feel of the song needs to be, what the rhythm is. It starts small and grows outward. It’s pretty collaborative,” Crow says.
Early in their career, they released a self-titled EP. (They had a sax back then.) Last year they recorded a new one, which is now being mixed and mastered. There’s still an emphasis on hard rock and funky punk, but they are also weaving in straight-up blues elements—they even have a song called “Muddy Waters.”
“We didn’t expect it to go this long, but we’re glad it did,” Crow says. “We wanted to get rich and famous and travel the world by now, but we’re having a good time doing it and we got to play some cool places and we got some good feedback.”
INFO: 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Crow’s Nest, 2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $7. 476-4560.