Double take: Crowns at the Old Blue LastCultureMusic
Shoreditch’s trendy Old Blue Last is crammed to the rafters with lairy students as folk-punk quartet Crowns bring their brand of folk-punk to the tiny makeshift stage. The Cornish four-piece have had quite a kick start to their short career: since forming in 2010 they’ve supported The Pogues, Mystery Jets and Brandon Flowers, and they’re set to bring the house down with some energetic Cornish punk rock and, of course, a mandolin. The top floor of the venue is packed full of those buying into the excitement and reputation surrounding the band, and they’re already revved up by the support acts Cement Matters and The Lagan.
The Upcoming gives you contrasting reviews from opposite sides of the hype. The question is whose side are you on?
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Set to last
Singer Bill Jefferson warmly welcomed the crowd with a few kind words and a filthy grin as they launched into Stitches in the Flag. Right off the bat, it was plain to see why the band has already had such major success and popularity with both fans and peer bands. Their vociferous material had every member of the audience bouncing and jigging about the room.
What really gave the music an edge was the liveliness the band exhume. Every member was careering across the stage in time to their instrument, but it had to be the quaint melody of Jack Speckleton’s mandolin that set the Cornish lads apart from other bands breaking into the music scene.
She Swears like a Sailor was the highlight of the night. Jefferson’s rusty voice insisted “She’s more than able to drink me under the table”, epitomising the messy foursome; the underlying beat had such force, it was clear the band was there for one reason: to have a good time, and The Old Blue Last certainly agreed.
For such a young band, Crowns certainly packed a punch – and the audience lapped up every offering. With a raucous energy and cheeky lyrics, this is one band that is set to last, and left Shoreditch satisfied with a folk-punk fix.
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Never reached a climax
When the band appeared on stage, the appeal was obvious: young, skinny, cool and dressed in black. Perhaps these are the only ingredients needed these days for a modern guitar band to get noticed in the industry. Their musical style hails from an old Cornish musical style, wrapped in western and bluegrass, and combined with punk. There is a nod to the old country throughout their music, however, with their aggressive edge they have dubbed the sound “fish-punk”.
Claiming the night was better than the Brits, frontman Bill Jefferson did his best to rile the crowd into action with a few call-and-response tricks better suited to the DJs and MCs of Aiya Napa. To his credit, the crowd responded and danced along to songs like Four Walls and Parting in the Porch. The drummer, Nathan Haynes, put on an impressive show – playing so hard at one point the amp looked like it would fall off its stack. The display of strength was commendable considering he looked fresh out of secondary school.
There were females in the crowd who indulged in a spot of country dancing, enlivening the surroundings, but the gig never reached a climax. The band played well but it was difficult to differentiate between the repetitive tracks; not one song was memorable or stood out. By the time they played Safe Train Home the audience had grown weary and the conclusion fell flat.