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Live Review: Crocodiles @ GBM, 3/12/09

December 4, 2009

The Crocodiles, Goodbye Blue Monday, Christchurch, 3/12/09

This band caused GBM to be the most packed I’ve ever seen it, and on a Thursday night even! I suppose you don’t get to see a US band that’s got a fair bit of hype around the indy-net (hipster-ttp?) play for free all that often. The only thing I’d heard by them before the gig was the YouTube videos below which sounded kind of like some fairly laid back retro pop rock stuff to me. Chatting to a friend before the gig he assured me they were much more hipster than I had pegged them as, and indeed this came to pass.

Packed in the crowd without much of a view of the stage the drum machine sounded pretty realistic and I wasn’t totally sure for a little while whether they actually had a real drummer up there. Their live show was a lot less three-minute-pop-song than YouTube suggested, with most of their songs fading in and out from feedback and electronic noise and layered with heavy coatings of fuzz and atmospheric effects. As well as a few of these distorted songs there was a long tune consisting of a pounding bass drum and some atmospheric riffing that was rather hypnotic, and also loud enough to make me question whether my earplugs were in properly.

It seemed like they were trying to avoid ‘just’ playing somewhat catchy rock songs by spicing up their style with some more edgy noise experiments. It didn’t work particularly well though since the cohesion of their songs was disrupted and the more experimental parts weren’t interesting enough to sustain interest by themselves. So the overall effect was an uneasy mix, adding just enough shoegazy eccentricities to make it seem uncertain whether they were trying to be a straight-up rock and roll band or something deeper, and not fully succeeding at either. They were good at what they were doing, but I found it just a little unsatisfying.

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