The Crookes

The Crookes

This band deserve to be bigger. That is all.

Date: December 8, 2010

Venue: Rescue Rooms, Red Room

Maybe it’s the cold weather. Maybe it’s the fact that Nottingham’s student population are all dressed daringly and dangerously as scantily-clad Santas (even the men) in some weird festive bar crawl that tonight’s gig is so alarmingly under subscribed.

So few are the numbers that the gig has been moved to the Red Room, a seldom-used closet upstairs at the Rescue Rooms that leads to the viewing balcony in the main room.

But this doesn’t bother the The Crookes. So full of vim and zest are these four young winsome Sheffield popsters that you get the feeling they’d play their set even if just the bartender was in attendance.

They’re a playful bunch who are simply excited by music. Theirs is an alternative vision of The Libertine dream. Their lyrics hold the same whimsy and fanciful charm of Doherty’s better paeans, but without the narcotic undertones. And thankfully, their bond is strong, lacking any strained relationships and in-fighting.

Fighting? These boys? No chance. It’s all friendly here. They’re a tight knit bunch who are united in their quest for that positive, anti-hate message.

Their 50s-inflected guitar pop fizzes with effervescence. They emit a romantic essence devoid in much of today’s dark and moody zeitgeist. It’s refreshing to see a band wiggle their collective happy sticks with such abandon. There’s just no pretence with these boys, no blackened soul, or a diseased spirit. Just a combined good vibe.

Call it twee, call it overtly old-fashioned. Relate them to Belle and Sebastian if you must, as if it’s an insult and a warning as to a trad, tired and pointless direction to take. But what’s wrong with some sepia-tinged nostalgia and lovelorn melodrama, especailly in these desolate times? What’s wrong with songs that make the dance floor feel like a magnet, and that your feet have taken on an entity all of their own while your derrière sways uncontrollably?

The Collier’s Wife and Backstreet Lovers are jangling odes with heartening melodies, enriched with a 50s and 60s beat-pop energy, the singer’s lolling voice adding further appeal and connecting with the few that have gathered before him.

At times it feels as though he’s speaking to individuals on a personal level, such is the intimacy of the show. People listen intently, their eyes fixated on his lips, the band’s hope-filled messages and feel-good tunes resonating with their small, captive audience.

For those that stayed away, those that chose to freeze their sleigh bells off in the sub-zero temperatures whilst dressed as porno Santas, you my friends, missed a band on the brink of something quite special.

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