The Crookes And Collectors Club @ The Westgarth, Middlesbrough 28/03/11

A Monday night in Middlesbrough would not normally have one decent gig to go to let alone two. But last week we were spoilt for choice. Andy and Phil went off to The Empire to see the Pigeon Detectives and I dragged my bag to see The Crookes at The Westgarth. Who had the best time? Well no-one will ever know. I think we both enjoyed the gigs we saw but any kind of competition is impossible and slightly redundant. I saw three great bands and had a wonderful evening. Do I need to justify that?


I only caught the end of these young herberts. Very XTC, Gang of Four and a splattering of Talking Heads for good measure. They also have a political edge in the style of Easterhouse or The Three Johns. Singer in a suit looks a bit like Elvis Costello, early Jam or a trainee banker. Quite liked them but will have to see a full set to really make my mind up. They have plenty of gigs coming up so we should come across them pretty soonish.


Orange Juice versus Vampire Weekend fighting over a bag of fizzbombs whilst copying the dress sense of The Pale Fountains and early Wham!!! Now if that sounds like a mixture of dollys well it certainly was. Brand new kids on the block from the Boro/Saltburn area. They dont like lazy comparisons with other bands but I’m lazy, so there. Paul Simon, Afro beats, Haircut 100 and a little bit of Josef K. Very good despite their early years and not so many gigs. My only worry is that they don’t seem to know what they are or what they want to be.  They lurch from pure indie to pure pop. Will they be releasing one sided flexis on parmavioletrecords or selling their souls to Sony as soon as the money men notice them. Only time will tell but for now I look forward to seeing them again and maybe picking their brains to see where their star is set.


Sheffields own Smiths disciples take to the stage with an air of “look at us!!” And boy did we look. They were brilliant. They name themselves not after a gang of robbers but the area of the city from which they hail. They were so good I bought the album at the end and have been listening to it non stop since. This was the second time I’d seen them. They were at Middlesbrough Music Live last year. I enjoyed them then but thought the Smiths edge was a bit too much. Well, they still have that Moz thing going but they’ve also found a sound of their own. Their debut album; Chasing After Ghosts  (Fierce Panda) is fantastic and they more than do it justice on stage. Energetic and cool, they look like a real band. Guitarist Alex Saunders reminded me of a young Craig Gannon (Aztec Camera, Bluebells and The Smiths) both in look and his guitar style. Lead singer; George Waite (what a great name!! It sounds like some 19th century philosopher) darts around the stage, giving off an infectious enthusiasm that draws the crowd to his band. Best tracks?? All of them now that I’ve heard the album but on the night stand out tracks were The Crookes Laundry Murder, 1922. Great title for a song. Great song for a song. Yes, Yes we’re Magicians was a tune embedded in my head and then there is Bright Young Things. They finished with this and refused to come back for more which was a shame but left us wanting a lot more. These boys are on the rise and with the backing of the Panda people I suspect that they will be gracing far bigger stages in the next 12 months. Go to their site where you can download a whole heap of stuff for free. Better still buy the album. Better, better still, go see them live. I swear you wont regret it.


Chorus (Chorus of Fools)

Dreamer (Just like Dreamers)

Godless (Godless Girl)

Colliers  (A Collier’s Wife)

Laundry (The Crookes Laundry Murder, 1922)

Bloodshot (Bloodshot Days)

Moonlight (I remember Moonlight)

City//Charms (City of Lights//Carnabetian Charms)

Backstreet (Backstreet Lovers)

Magic (Yes, Yes we’re magicians)

BYT (Bright Young Things)


THE CROOKES         






By peter on April 7, 2011

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