Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Crocodiles – Deaf Institute, Manchester 04/10/2010

06 October 2010, 11:00 | Written by Matthew Britton


You can probably tell straight away if a Crocodiles gig is for you by this one statement alone – the lead singer thrusts his hips at every rattle of a tambourine. Blantantly, almost vulgarly, he pumps his body back and forth every time the instrument is shaken, seemingly lost in the matrix of emotion that the instrument holds.

If you’re still unsure if Crocodiles are for you, then the crowd are another telling feature is that, somewhere near the front of the stage, consistently throughout the gig, is one very drunk, middle aged man who looks very definitely like he is someone’s father. Elsewhere, there is a young couple who spend the entire gig in the kind of joyous rapture that only comes with seeing a band when you’re underage. Maybe they were brought as a present by the drunk dad.

On record, the band are excellent, favourably compared to the likes of Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts, mentioned in the same breath as noise pop luminaries like No Age. But whilst their contemporaries may take that lo-fi, D.I.Y. attitude over into their live performances, the aesthetic that makes their sound so arresting on tape is somehow lost, replaced with a kind of bland, arena rock aping, bigger than life take on their own sound.

The jarring changes are perhaps due to the extensions they’ve had to make in order to transfer their music to a viable live experience. Whilst they’re generally listed as a two piece, an extra three people have been strung along to fill out the sound. Though their sound has never been as stripped back and raw as other famous duos like Japandroids, there’s an innocence and simplicity lost through the changes. Lower down on the bill, Brown Brogues gave an impressive example of what it means to be in a two man band, working with wonderfully grimy, instinctive materials, heavily distorted and brilliantly restricted. Whilst it’s inevitably a lot less marketable, there’s a passion at the heart of their music that keeps it running – something oddly absent from the headliners.

In the end, it feels like a 12 year old’s interpretation of what it means to be a rock and roll star rather than the proper thing. Whilst there’s always been a market for that kind of thing – notably on the undercard for Oasis and kings of Leon gigs, the duo definitely sell themselves short here – not that the drunk man, swaying from side to side and goading his mates seems to care. Nor do the enamoured teenage couple. Or the singer himself. Maybe it was their kind of gig.

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