Music is most certainly categorized in cycles. Every generation seems to go through their rock is dead phase only to have some young upstarts kick it back into high gear. Obviously, as Neil Young says, it will never die but sometimes that kick is just what’s needed to remind everyone the power of some good old fashioned slam banging rock and roll. With that, here we have Starcrawler, a foursome of said upstarts (the oldest member is 22) who recently came through Brooklyn’s Rough Trade to give rock a good kick in the ass. Playing behind their just released self titled Ryan Adams produced album out on Rough Trade records and an already buzzed about live show, the crowd was pumped and ready for action. Opening with Castaway, the b-side to current single I Love L.A, the sold out masses began to sway but once guitarist Henri Cash launched into the opening notes of glam punk b-side Used to Know all hell broke loose. From there Cash, along with drummer Austin Smith, bassist Tim Franco and singer Arrow de Wilde spent the next 35 minutes feeding the adoring frenzy their total output which references the glam and punk of 1970’s Los Angeles with a healthy dose of Stooges down and dirty rock thrown in for good measure.
Live they combine for an interesting dichotomy. Smith and Franco the steady anchor matched against the propulsive energy of Cash and de Wilde that’s impossible not to look away from. Cash swings back and forth from aping the standing still manic smiling of the legendary Billy Zoom of X to flying all over the stage and off it (he ended up this night towards the end playing in the crowd at the back of the room) all the while laying out some seriously delicious riffs. Often occurring in the same song.
Then there is the six foot two de Wilde whose on stage presence can sometimes be likened to a character in a Herschel Gordon Lewis exploitation film. At many shows she often begins the performance in a straitjacket while unleashing fake blood towards the end (we didn’t get either of these this evening). Prowling the stage, mugging, contorting and confronting the audience, she’s a sight to behold. It’s obvious the serious artistic pedigree she comes from has seeped into the DNA. Her grandfather Jerry and mother Autumn are both noteworthy and accomplished photographers (Autumn shot the striking album cover which features Beck’s young daughter Tuesday Hansen dripping blood). Her father Aaron Sperske was a member of the late great psych country band Beachwood Sparks.
While it was a crazy and fun show, it at times seemed a bit staged. If you watch their previous performances online, you see the repetition. The aforementioned straightjacket and fake blood. Then there is Cash bringing up someone at the end to play his guitar(a very eager young lady this evening) while de Wilde jumps off stage, running into the crowd and out the venue. It’s a small nitpick for a young band who will grow and whose performances will get better and more spontaneous continuing to remind everyone that rock and roll is indeed not dead.
Article: PSquared Media