Live Review: The Crookes

8 May

Ok, this was wasn’t in Brighton, but it was bloody good…

Debaser, Stockholm
Saturday, April 30
 
If Sheffield’s jangly pop poets The Crookes fail to put a grin on your face, the chances are it’s because you’ve been botoxed to buggery.

Despite tonight playing second fiddle to a dire blues-rock outfit, they’re a joy to watch as they unleash their catchy and classy songs with boundless enthusiasm and vigour.

While Stockholm isn’t the hardest crowd to win over – there’s no too-cool-for-school standing at the back with arms folded here – their first song, the soaring City Lights still receives an unexpectedly rapturous response.

For those who hadn’t had the pleasure of The Crookes before, it was a perfect introduction.
‘Take me where there’s music, I love to dance’ crooned frontman George Waite, revealing a voice deeper and confident that his boyish looks and slight frame would suggest, and most of those here seemed to share his sentiments.

Vocally Waite draws comparisons to Martin Rossiter from 90s indie fops Gene while musically the hour-long set reveals a hint of The Housemartins, a smack-free sprinkling of The Libertines and a trace of The Smiths.

The pick of the set is Bright Young Things, an excitable four-minute jaunt through jagged 80s guitars complete with a melody which won’t scarper from your head for at least a week. Bloodshot Days gives it a good run for a money though, complete with classic ‘ba, ba, ba’ backing vocals which you can’t help but mimic, while Chorus of Fools leads to frantic head shaking, both on stage and off, as it punches along at an increasing rate of knots.

The added bonus of having a frontman who can actually sing is that their tales of random characters, love and dreamy musings can be properly heard. ‘Who cares if they think that fragile youth’s too kitchen sink?’ asks Waite on the aforementioned Bright Young Things. Certainly no-one here.

They round-off with the suitably punchy ‘Yes, Yes, We Are Magicians’ and while none of their newly-won admirers can verify their rabbit-in-a-hat skills, they can testify that The Crookes are a wonderful watch.

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