The Crimea at The Jazz Cafe
The Crimea’s farewell gig drew an almost uncomfortably packed crowd to The Jazz Cafe this Tuesday night. Coming to the end of an eleven year run with three studio albums, The Crimea are going their separate ways as lead singer, Davey Macmanus, plans to relocate to South Africa to open a children’s home. Noble as their reasons are, Macmanus and the band seem genuinely wistful – and this incites a wonderful, emotional set.
Macmanus is immediately the centre of attention, totally commanding the stage with his soulful crooning. Audience members crane and twist to get a better glimpse of the singer through the crowded hall, though everyone listens with silent, rapt attention before bursting into applause after each song. It’s almost as though the crowd are awed into silence by Macmanus’ gorgeously raw vocals. Macmanus seems entirely in his own world during many of the songs and is almost unaware of his adoring fans as he loses himself in his own music. Songs such as Loop a Loop and Baby Boom showcase some existential, philosophical lyrics, and it is in these songs that his voice is at its most emotional.
When the band strikes up the dark love song Opposite Ends, a song fraught with passion, the crowd can’t help but join in with infectious enthusiasm. But Macmanus’ interaction with his audience is reduced primarily to philosophical proclamations and obscure poetry. This does however seem to be a signature style as the crowd are appreciative as ever.
Though there is little interaction from or with the rest of the band, the music is beautiful, often haunting and always complementary. The pining style of Julz Parker on guitar and the elegant piano by Andrew Stafford contrast stunningly with Macmanus’ gruff voice. Meanwhile, Tara Blaise’s soft, sweet soprano brings a welcome tenderness to the anguished love songs.
The band is invited back for not one, but two encores by the relentlessly encouraging crowd. Their final song is the 2006 hit Lottery Winners on Acid, accompanied by clouds of bubbles blown out into the crowd, it brings an upbeat and poignant end to The Crimea’s farewell gig.
The Crimea produce songs one might expect to find playing at the climax of a fabulous indie epic. Macmanus is intensely passionate about his work and this informs a distinct voice for the band. This is thoughtful, resonating music that will undoubtedly transcend the group’s end.
Photos: Andrei Grosu
For further information and future events visit The Crimea’s website here.
Watch the video for Lottery Winners on Acid here: