Starcrawler at Norwich Arts Centre - Review
Being tipped as the “saviours of rock’n’roll” can be seen as nothing more than a hyperbolic statement deployed to raise buzz around a band and portray guitar music as dying. However, Starcrawler proved that they are bringing a show which really deserves to be talked about. The LA based quartet hit Norwich Art Centre to provide a night the crowd certainly would not forget.
The first and only support act came from UEA’s own Gladboy. The junkedelic trio fitted perfectly on this bill with their infectious infusion of garage rock and psychedelic pop reminiscent of Black Lips and The Beach Boys. It was refreshing to witness a local support act look so comfortable performing to a sold-out room and in doing so grasping the crowd with their endearing nature on stage. I’ve seen Gladboy play a few times, but this is the tightest I’ve witnessed them and they certainly gained many new admirers tonight. Gladboy’s set was dynamically very appealing with a mixture of songs which made you want to dance your worries away and others which set the tone for a more chilled out vibe. On-the-floor rolling guitar solos and contagious harmonies really do set these boys apart from an array of other local talent. Opening a show of this magnitude can be a daunting endeavour, however Gladboy proved tonight that they are one of the most exciting and lovable bands emerging from Norwich at the moment. I strongly suggest you keep an eye out for these boys.
Up next were the highly anticipated glam punk headliners Starcrawler. After playing The Crypt back in November of last year, you could feel the excitement brewing in the air for this lot. Whilst waiting for the quartet to emerge, I heard mutterings from spectators around me explaining what a Starcrawler show entails, including mentions of ‘sweat and an abundance of fake blood’. Henri, Austin and Tim emerged to a rapturous applause and soon after Arrow De Wilde propelled herself through the crowd and clambered onto the stage. Straight from the get-go I realised this was not going to be your conventional rock gig. The wall of sound which erupted off stage filled up every corner of the packed-out NAC and felt almost tangible. Even after only a few minutes, the crowd had been gifted multiple scissor kicks and windmills from guitarist Henri Cash as he flung himself and guitar about the stage. Arrow’s performance is something which separates Starcrawler from the rest of the pack, her theatrical and haunting movements create an enchanting rapport with the crowd and elevate the songs from the record into a real-life stage show. Bassist, Tim Franco, seemed the most collected of the LA four-piece as he adopted a static pose but still deeply immersed in the songs keeping a tightly knit rhythm section. The juxtaposition between Tim and Arrow weirdly seem to work in unison as it enhances the off-kilter performance Starcrawler provide. The opening riffs from fan favourites, such as ‘I Love LA’ and ‘Ants’ sent the crowd into euphoria as mosh pits intensified, and adoring fans piled towards the front of the stage. Sonically, Starcrawler deliver a powerful eruption of 70’s glam rock with catchy, sing-along choruses bound to get stuck in your head. As Starcrawler progressed through their set, Arrow’s performance became increasingly awe-inspiring as she smeared fake blood over her face and spat the remnants on front row spectators. As the night ended, Arrow vanished behind the black curtain side-stage whilst the band jammed out for a good 10 more minutes. Henri came down to the venue floor and lent his guitar to George from Gladboy as Tim and Austin maintained a powerful rhythm section. This climatic end was a truly great way to finish the night. No encore was needed and as the house lights came on all that remained was a sweaty crowd trying to process what they had just witnessed.