Anvil Rockbar, Bournemouth 21.11.19
A black wet Thursday night in Bournemouth. Didn’t rush out – flagging a little – and arrived at the Anvil Rockbar while Southampton band Mystic Peach were finishing their set, down in the dungeon of noise that is the basement of the Anvil.
With partner Sally tonight – not sure what she’s going to make of this. We have seen Crows before though, in surroundings that could not have been more different – a sunny afternoon on Southsea Common at Victorious Festival 2018, on the second, Castle Stage.
We were wandering passed as they were playing, off somewhere, and I put the brakes on – I could hear something special.
My pre-Victorious blog: https://gigswithivan.home.blog/2019/08/15/victorious-gems-part-2/
I looked out for them and found some stuff on YouTube and Spotify since and this was the first convenient opportunity to get to see them live.
In the Anvil bar Sally stopped Crows lead singer, James Cox, to say hello after we recognised them and reminded him of the Victorious enlightenment. Seems a nice guy who clearly transforms onto another plane for Crows performances. He’s from mid-Wales somewhere that he clearly thought was too obscure to trouble our geography with, and lives in London now….they’re a London band.
The first Crows album, ‘Silver Tongues’, came out earlier this year. Before that a few singles and EPs – tracks ‘Crawling’ and ‘The Itch’ included.
James pointed out Lumer, that were touring with them, had just started down in the rock basement below so off we went. Muso ear protection in – the Anvil is always loud and furious – no hiding place.
The first thing that struck me about Lumer was that this felt like the early 80s post punk local gigs I went to in big old pubs in Birmingham. Even the clothes: stout no nonsense shoes, that weren’t all Doc Martens; robust, well made trousers that your grandad would be proud of and jackets that might have been from the charity ‘dead men’s clothes shops’ – like the ‘Digbeth tailors’ of Birmingham that my mate Nige (NCh) introduced us to when we were students.
Support band tonight – Lumer
Raw new sound with a clear and frantic drum beat at the heart of it, emenating from a drummer involved in a serious workout, stripped down to his ‘grandad’ trousers and robust no-nonsense shoes. This is a bit ragged but it’s new. There is life. Youth does have hope.
Frontman, Alex Evans, has spells of keyboard activity and some eyebrows are raising from those of us in tonight from the John Peel generation.
There can only be 60 to 80 punters – it only holds about 150 – but this place has its own atmosphere seeping from the walls (and indeed the gents). It doesn’t need to be rammed.
There are Idles’ fans in tonight, and I can see why (I only just realised they supported them on tour so not that surprising eh); students with interesting clothes; a bloke in a Southern Death Cult t-shirt; the John Peelers and Sally in her glittery top, bobbing about.
Lumer are worth tagging for a look later….from Hull.
Time for an Anvil Stout from the old engine block beer taps upstairs before Crows hit the stage.
James Cox is off, head thrashing, fighting with his two mic stands in movements and surroundings that look like an early Joy Division gig – no I never saw one but I’ve watched the films.
Some double mic action from YouTube, my videos were terrible: https://youtu.be/vHCupDUV3OE
As the set progresses the low stage edge provides little more than an optional guideline with James getting in with his audience.
A genuinely exciting Idles meet Joy Division style performance. The music media would label this as some sort of garage post punk indie sound. So much to offer here. Bigger things beckon surely.
They finish with ‘Crawling’, an early one which appears on the album. The gathering goes wild. I’m rooted to a pillar. Off on holiday tomorrow and don’t want to end up in A&E, or a repeat of my Members meet ‘n’ greet the dance floor experience a few weeks back.
Post post-punk’s not dead. John Peel would be so pleased.