Tour Reviews

Here’s some gig reviews for you today, but before I start may I point you in the direction of’s new Events pages, specifically the Crimea one. I’ll likely be using it to provide listings on this site in a short time, so I’m making sure it’s up to date with all the latest gig info, and you can add reviews and photos of gigs to each listing.

Anyway, on with the reviews. The band support Modest Mouse last month and here’s what The Music Magazine had to say about their performance in Nottingham’s Rock City.

Davey @ WrexhamMoving in to Wales, the band’s headlining slot at Wrexham’s Central Station is given the once over by Caught In The Crossfire, along with their thoughts on support band Undercut.

Controlled chaos is what BBC Nottingham called the band’s show at The Social, while High Voltage were more disappointed by the heat at Joshua Brooks than anything else.

No post here would be complete lately without the usual SOTWH news articles, and the Scotsman doesn’t dissapoint, while also plugging the band’s Cabaret Voltaire gig, taking place right now I do believe. They should be well in to Talking Nonsense by now. Speaking of which, here’s some Japanese nonsense from Sailor Music Record Box, also about – you guessed it – the album release.

Modest Mouse
Rock City, Nottingham; 28th May

Rating: 4 / 5

Legendary venue, spectacular band fresh from a performance at ATP vs The Fans, a few swift bevvies before doors and an air of overwhelming excitement, the signs were pointing towards something memorable tonight for all the right reasons. A pity then that it didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Support act The Crimea set the tone well. The London based quintet has been on the road with Modest Mouse for a couple of dates now, taking in Glasgow and Wolverhampton already, and tonight is their last in this short stint of a tour. Their blend of sounds (in a live scenario at least) as far-ranging, as the likes of MewithoutYou, Guillemots and The Thrills, is intriguing and seems to complement Issac Brock and his lot rather well. A genuinely entertaining, enthralling live band. Bodies wriggling, faces pulling, a band that give the impression they truly posses enormous passion for what they do. And with new album ‘Secrets of the Witching Hour’ having been released as a free download on their website there’s no reason why they should be passed by.

Review by Stephen Milnes for The Music Magazine, May 2007.

The Crimea – Live

Central Station, Wrexham

You have to admire the energy and passion of Bristol boys Undercut. Playing their blend of enigmatic rock to a half full room in Wrexham, they could have been playing a packed out Wembley for all the vigour and unwavering enthusiasm on display.

Looking like a band completely comfortable with each other, they continue to put on a blistering performance that would make even the most experienced of live performers envious. Utterly enthralling to watch, frontman Johnny Benn weaves his way through stomping tracks which swing between 90’s inspired indie and all out rock n roll.

Undercut play every note like they mean it and their flashes of brilliance tonight only hint further towards their overwhelming potential. It surely is only a matter of time before they evolve into a band that everyone is talking about.

It’s The Crimea though that most of the slightly older crowd have come to see tonight. Forming from the ashes of The Crocketts, their music lies somewhere in indie mixed with punk and folk, taking cues from artists like The Pogues. The heat has got up to epic proportions on stage and the band, led by Davey MacManus look to be wilting but with pleasantries out of the way they kick off their show and instantly their music seems to work much better live than it does on record.

There is no jumping around here, no leaping or shrieking, in fact your man MacManus barely moves an inch all night, but what they lack in charisma they make up for in emotion. Refreshingly unpretentious, the feelings and passion in their songs is authentic and although they won’t whip you into a frenzy, it’s an assured, well rounded performance in this intimate environment by ones of the UK’s most underrated bands.

Review by Jane Hawkes for Caught In The Crossfire, June 2007.

the crimeaThe Crimea @ The Social 03/06/07
Controlled chaos is the best way of describing this absorbing gig.

This band failed to disappoint the eagerly awaiting crowd last weekend at The Social. With a great turn out in this small venue their performance was slick yet unpredictable at the same time.

Controlled chaos.

Front man Davy McManus ripped his way through favourite from the first album “White Russian Galaxy”, a real crowd pleaser, and performed with such assurance and passion.

This guy knows how to present the front-man image and he does it really well.

Another thing I noticed about the set they performed, consisting of a selection of the best tracks on up and coming download-only album “Secrets of the Witching Hour” was that their music has diversity about it.

This meaning that not all of their songs sound the same, which is what I tend to find with more commercial bands living up to expectations, like The Kaiser Chiefs and the like.

Therefore, why is this band not performing to larger, more compelling venues across the UK?

With their current set up, their honesty and enthusiasm for their work and their true performance quality, I am astounded that these have not broken out sooner.

Davy tore his way through “Lottery Winners On” – one of their better-known tracks from the first album, and brought the house down in style.

What The Crimea need are a few more television and radio appearances then I imagine that you would be more than slightly intrigued at what other material this clever tribe of talent have to showcase.

Review by Lauren Bradshaw for BBC Nottingham, 07/06/07.

The Crimea – Joshua Brooks
With: Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in one of those steam rooms you see at upmarket gyms? Could be worse? Well how about instead of just wearing your swimwear you’re wearing your proper clothes. And there are 200 people in there with you. Still fancy it?

Such were the conditions facing HV and the performing bands at a frankly unpleasantly sweltering Joshua Brooks on Saturday night. But thankfully, instead of everyone deciding to bugger off home and sit in a bath of ice, the assembled masses sucked it up and decided they were going to have a good time regardless. It’s that kind of spirit that won us two world wars. Rule Britannia…

It would be fair to say the heat had thinned the crowd a little by the time The Crimea took to the stage. Singer Davey MacManus even seemed to be giving himself a slightly crazed pep talk before they began. You can only presume he was trying to will himself colder. The Crimea are a band who are usually difficult to take your eyes off. But even they seemed subdued by the heat tonight. The muted response from the audience for tracks from new album ‘Secrets of the Witching Hour’ can only be put down to them conserving their energy to applaud set highlights ‘Baby Boom’ and ‘Lottery Winners On Acid’ and serves as no reflection on the quality of the new material. Which is excellent.

So. A hot night. With some great bands. Let’s just hope people weren’t too delirious by the end to forget it all.

Rating: 4 / 5

Review by Chris Horner for High Voltage, June 2007.

That’s fighting talk from The Crimea
THE CRIMEA say they are “shell-shocked”, which is quite fitting when you consider their name is better known as the scene of a famous 19th century battle against the Russians.

But have the Camden indie outfit been engaged in any battles themselves of late?

Well yes, actually, they’ve only gone and taken on the might of the music industry.

Dropped last year by their record label, despite selling a respectable 35,000 copies of debut album Tragedy Rocks, and making the Top 40 with the single Lottery Winners On Acid, the band’s next move was one that could spark a music industry revolution.

Embracing the ethic that says you reap what you sow, The Crimea leapt into the unknown by becoming the first established act to give away an entire album for nothing, making self-financed sophomore record Secrets Of The Witching Hour available for free download on their official website,

By giving away the album in its entirety, the band, who come to Cabaret Voltaire on Wednesday for the second last stop on their current UK tour, hope to widen their fanbase and ultimately make more money from touring, merchandising and licensing deals than they would from album sales.

As you’d expect, the experiment is being closely monitored by the industry and other bands toiling to make money at a time when CD sales are falling fast and margins decreasing as a result of mass internet downloading.

“We’ve always strived to get the music out to as many people as possible,” says drummer Owen Hopkin, who has taken on many of the group’s organisational and administrative chores. “If it’s free we’ll reach more people than the orthodox route of selling the record.”

By this, you’d assume, he means the record companies themselves. And that’s proper fighting talk.

The Crimea, Cabaret Voltaire, Blair Street, Wednesday, 7pm, £4, 0131-220 6176

Article by Gary Flockhart for, 15/06/07.

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