Dan Croll at the Lexington
Dan Croll and his band are from Liverpool but for this evening they are hosting a small crowd in the upstairs room of The Lexington pub in Islington. They’re a youngish outfit (Dan’s 23) and were only signed last year. The pub is a decent venue with a high-ceilinged, chandeliered, red-draped ground floor room (creating a pleasantly surreal feel) and a comparatively pokey upstairs room where the gig takes place. Khushi and Racing Glaciers, the two supporting acts, pass in a haze of uneventful guitar.
Onstage, Croll charms the crowd with deadpan Northern irony. His music alternates between an acoustic folk style and a sassier funk lurch. Both styles are familiar, and underworked by lazy groups, but Croll and co. are not a bore. They have a noticeable stock of chord changes and the band are all bang on, especially in their immaculate four-part harmonies. At points in the set the standard slackens somewhat and we’re left with a rather more jejune figure : on In/Out the tumbling platitudes are mildly irritating rather than endearing, due to a particularly plain melody and flat arrangement.
The highlight of the set is a new song – available now for free download – Can You Hear Me. Here, all the band’s best elements are fused: a tender, lustful falsetto lyric (he does have a splendid falsetto), offset by a tremulous keyboard riff, raunchy piano and jerking bass plumping the harmonies of the mid-section (insert demurely: “hello, are you lonely like me?”). The cosy upstairs pub room venue is a perfect setting, as Croll points out – it’s like having a personal conversation. There is a texture and ambition to his sound. He released an album last year and has had plays on 6 Music and Radio 1, but so far as being accepted into the charts, he perhaps isn’t quite sanitised enough (Ed Sheeran) or marketable enough (Jake Bugg). With any luck he’ll remain on the fringes and continue to improve, playing decent gigs like this and surprising cynical reviewers. The evening closes on an encore with the cosy Home, one of his better (Fleet Fox-like) folky numbers with a lyric befitting the simple tenderness of his music:
“So if you ever come round to my house take your shoes off at the door
‘Cause it’s impolite not to; you’ll be damaging my floor
‘Cause it’s my home.”
Photos: Indrek Galetin
For further information and future events visit Dan Croll’s website here.
Watch a live performance of Home here: