My last live music gig for 2016 and what a way to finish, seeing one of my long-standing bands from the Crookes area of Sheffield, at my favourite Yorkshire music venue, Leeds Brudenell.
The approach to the Brudenell Club was illuminated with two giant reindeer, a teddy bear and snowman all positioned on the entrance roof (see photo). Inside was equally decorated for Christmas and the pizza van in the car park, not wanting to be left out, was adorned with tinsel and lights.
The venue was heaving as Every Time I Die played an ear-splitting set to a sold out main room. While The Crookes performed in the equally packed, adjoining Games Room. The Crookes must have devoted the day to dressing the stage with decorations including a Christmas tree, lights, tinsel, presents, a speaker with the words “Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals”and a black backdrop with round white lights, to give the impression of a snowy night, finished the theme. Oh, and not forgetting free mince pies on the merch stall.
First up were local three-piece band Common Dogs, consisting of drummer, bass guitarist and singer/guitarist. They appeared to be quite nervous to start with, which is a shame as their influences, The Strokes and Foals anticipated for a great night. Unfortunately, they lost the crowd when they covered Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”. They need to stick to their own material. I especially liked the first song they have ever written which they ended their set with (unfortunately I didn’t catch the title of it).
The second support band were The Hot Soles. A duo from Sheffield featuring drummer Richard Birkin and guitarist/singer Kieran Wardle; they walked on to the theme from Grandstand – it certainly grabbed the audience. Their aggressive soul sound was dominant, strong and loud, blended with the singer’s amazing powerful and unique voice. I noticed the band had everyone’s full attention from the first song, including people who had been propping up the bar seconds earlier. In-between songs the singer engaged the audience with his witty anecdotes and at one point managed to order a drink from the bar whilst he continued to play guitar. I overheard a girl next to me tell her friend that she wanted to learn how to play drums after seeing them play. A good recommendation if ever I heard one!
I have seen The Crookes perform many times over the last five years. The first time was when they played with The Heartbreaks at The Queens Social Club in Sheffield (whatever happened to them? I used to love Save Our Souls). It’s so interesting to see the gradual progression of a band. I feel a sense of pride when the crowd sings the lyrics back to the band , God knows how it makes The Crookes feel! Now with four albums under their belts they are spoilt for choice which tracks to play, but manage a mixture from all four and a couple from their first EP, “Dreams Of Another Day”. They really are coordinated as a band, they look amazing and sound flawless. George, singer/bass player with his engaging vocals and mesmerising wobbly head gestures. Daniel, guitarist/keyboard player, always appears quiet and aloof but then catches someone singing back his lyrics which makes him smile. Tom, guitarist, is energetic and always smiling while singing backing vocals. Newest member Adam, drummer, sings happily and rhythmically moves to the music. True to their word that it would be a Crookes Christmas Tour, the set included songs such as: Afterglow, Maybe in the Dark, I Wanna Waste My Time On You and Sofie all with a sprinkling of their Christmas songs including: You’re Just Like Christmas, You Bring The Snow and It’s Just Not Christmas Without You. It was great to hear some of their older songs like “The Collier’s Wife” and “Backstreet Lovers” which the crowd loved and happily sang back to them. The encore, which ended the hour and a half set, was “Santa Baby” merged with their famous crowd pleaser, “Yes, Yes We’re Magicians” which everyone followed the lead of singer George, to click their fingers along to.
The Crookes have just finished their 150th gig this year at The Queen’s Social Club in Sheffield on 17th December 2016. Their first three albums: Chasing After Ghosts, Hold Fast and Soapbox are all available through Fierce Panda Records and their current album, Lucky Ones is available on Anywhere Records.
Until the next adventure…