This was the first ever gig by The Crunch and was also the Launch party for the band’s debut single “Down By The Border“. So why are The Crunch the sort of band I want to see a first gig by? Well, in old school parlance they are a Super-group comprising members of The Clash, Cherry Bombz, Sham 69, Diamond Dogs, Cockney Rejects, Lords Of The New Church, Lolita Pop, Nasa, London Cowboys, Generation X. Yes they have some serious props!
But before them I got to see East End Promises, who didn’t excite me at all as they are a fairly new band in need of at the very least some sort of an image, as well as finding a way to make sure that most of their set doesn’t sound like variations on a very small theme that made them sound like they were trying to be the new Ultrasound or Symposium but are actually trying to sound like say Sonic Youth’s more commercial work or Smashing Pumpkins.
The most confused song of the set was “Tribal Gathering” as, being named after festival, I had an image that it might sound like that festival’s line-ups would suggest. Well, no it didn’t, but it did have one to the bands typical instrumental workouts in the middle which, if they could work out a way to make them more dynamic and varied, might just work.
If you’re going to introduce a song as being called “Violence” then you should at least make sure the music to accompany it is every bit as violent as you can make it, or go the other way and make it soft and calm. Well, they managed neither, and the song ended up being like handbags at twenty paces rather than a full on brawl that it should have been. If they can find a bit more of an identity and come up with some more original sounding music they may go somewhere, otherwise they will be slogging round the bottom of the bill for some time to come.
Soon enough it was time for The Crunch to make their debut performance as The Crunch rather than as the invited guests of Authors Peter Karlsson and Soren Karlsson at the Stockholm launch of their book Keep Yourself Alive that they had all been interviewed for. Well, apart from Sulo who was doing the interviewing. So The Crunch are Sulo on vocals, Mick Geggus on Guitar, Dave Tregunna on Bass and Terry Chimes on Drums and Idde Schultz on Keyboards.
They opened the show with what will be the title song of the band’s debut album when it comes out in October, “Making Noise With The Boys“, a song that is almost a manifesto for the band and which saw Sulo sounding in fine form and it has to be said, looking a whole lot healthier than the last time I saw him play in Diamond Dogs. Making Noise sounded like it could have been The Hurriganes crossed with Rockpile.
They then had some serious Street Fallout with the sort of all-out assault on us that was like a good Hanoi Rocks style rocker that had some serious bass action from Dave Tregunna as well as some good shouted backing vocals from him and Idde Schultz. Soon enough once Sulo had whipped the audience up a bit they were singing about getting to the Match On Time although with this lots history, it might have been some other sort of game they were involved in. Either way it was a good sleazy rocker that got a crowd that was at least 50% members of other bands going good and proper.
“Right About Now” had enough swagger to barge its way onto radio playlists all over the place, a mighty tune for sure. The song about Boys and Girls was nice and tight with some great interplay between Mike Geggus guitar and Idde Schultz keyboards it all seemed to work well. “Fire Again” is the sort of song that will connect with loads of people and well do I have to say what it’s about? Let’s just say the band are all familiar with it and have been there and done that and got fired again. I can’t wait to hear the recorded version of it!
Dave Tregunna then dedicated “Russian Roulette” to Stiv Bators, before they played a very cool version of the old Lords Of The New Church song, always cool to hear a cover played by members of the actual group and with at least one other ex-band member in the audience. This also saw a good part of the crowd singing along as you’d expect. Lots of smiles at this song.
“A Little Bit Of Grace” was a duet between Sulo and Idde which as they also perform as a duo wasn’t a huge surprise, but it has to be said her vocals really work well as a foil to Sulo’s and it was a pretty good tune as well.
We then got to the main event of the evening when they played the new single B-side first with a stunning version of “Gangster Radio” which is the sort of song that once you’ve heard it three or four times you’ll be singing along like you’ve known it for 20 years! The interplay on stage worked really well as they all looked like they were loving it.
They then closed the set with “Down By The Border“, which border we are not sure, but it is one we need to cross and live it sounds less like the Psychedelic Furs and more like the Backyard Babies.
No surprise that this lot were called back for an encore that opened with “Runaway Son“. That was another great little rocker and then they closed the show with a song that Terry Chimes helped to write, “Garageland” and damn it was great to hear it played like this with almost everyone in the place singing along to the chorus, a great way to finish a debut gig!