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Aaaaargh! Aaaaaaaargh! Aaaaaaaaaaaagh!

2002-09-29My review: The Crimea - 28th Sept, Rummers Wine Bar

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Cool... was finally in the right place at the right time to see 'em! I've usually been out of Aberystwyth when the Crocketts return to play, y'see. Thus most of my exposure comes from a bunch of CDs and the memory of watching Davey hit the ceiling of the Wolves Civic with his guitar at around the time 'James Dean-esque' came out as a single. Since then they've gone through a few members (Owen is also still around) and been dropped like most of the rest of the artist list on V2. Hence the name change. If you're already in the fandom loop a bit, ye can skip the next few paragraphs if ye want...

"We're just a bunch of buffalo, getting slaughtered..."

They've bounced back with a selection of new material and seem to be touring to maintain a profile for what will hopefully be their next single, 'Lottery Winners On Acid'. A great track, stemming from the sessions for the Klutzville demo EP (which I've heard thanks to Chris at www.inaudible.co.uk—great site for news) and from what I recall we got the rest of those tracks last night also. Still in quite a similar mould to the last EP by the Crocketts, 'Who Knows', 'Opposite Ends', 'Utopia' and 'Fred Flintstone' are all sublime alternatives to the homogenous dross piling up on many a radio playlist.

"You hooked up with pain when you hooked up with me..."

Just poppy enough to have the potential for wider attention, the guys reborn as The Crimea have a sound of their own - something which sounds like the daftest cliché ever, yet they're one of the few acts I'd say that about. Check out the Nintendo Fallacy EP if you need a good starting reference point - the natural progression from older anthems such as 'Will You Still Care' (known to even more people as "the one you can't play to your aged relations"...) The Crocketts were rather unfairly pigeon-holed by that chorus of, "I don't fucking think so!" when they're much more than one-hit wonders. I found The Great Brain Robbery slightly variable, but typical of the approach most bands take to their second albums - besides which, everything before and since has been infectiously enthusiastic. The relative demise of their record label subsidiary came as a blow.

"Nineteen thirty nine... returning..."

Anyway - the gig. I crawled down the hill at about 8 to find out when things would kick off, grabbed myself a pint of coke and ended up wandering across town with it (avoiding an unusual police presence) to pick up Gaz, Laura & Dan, who then disappeared long before the gig started. Also met up with Gemma and John, who similary ambled off just before the band got on (just before 11), and Anna had already headed off to collect Jonny, who she'd managed to misdirect from the train to Scholars. Not exactly a sterling turn-out from what remains of our little crowd... whilst on the other hand, it was a free door and an hour's worth of great music was much enjoyed by the tightly packed lot of us inside. Rummers is a cramped place at the best of times, let alone playing host to a band people will travel to see...

"We walk thru the streets like lottery winners on acid..."

Standing inside, with me gingerly sipping the pint of purple stuff (snakebite?) Anna had abandoned earlier, The Crimea opened with the prospective new single, following with more Klutzville tracks and a smattering of other recent material and crowd-pleasers. Musically, everything sounded tight, what we could see of the front row were drunk or otherwise smiley, and there was an impressive turnout of underage drinkers trying not to get trodden on by people twice their size.

"He was a modern-day, gun-totin', whiskey-drinkin', cigar-smokin' froooooog!"

'Nother particular highlight was a creatively ad-libbed 'Frog On A Stick', a song which made it no further than from an early demo to a b-side but is a firm fave of everyone I know who's heard it, singing along to which got me into a bit of shouted conversation with a woman who was apparently an ex-manager of theirs. Much pogo-ing ensued (an impressive and risky feat in Rummers), requiring the swinging PA to be taped up to something slightly more fixed and eventually supported by the girl standing next to it. A bit of feedback a few songs in, but 'twas quickly fixed—laid back but well handled.

"I was bigger, better, taller, smarter than I used to be..."

From here the remaining members of the Crocketts face an uncertain future. A new single is a great prospect, and the selected track is radio-friendly whilst still representing the band sound across the years... conversely, the name-change means a struggle to gather moss as it rocks and rolls its way across the excuse for music press we have these days. An effort with no small amount of risk attached, but one I very much hope gets somewhere -that's my feeling. I want this band to succeed.


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