For their final support gig with The Basement, The Crimea move up to Sheffield in their little white tour van. It's been 6 months since I last saw then and since then they've gained a new guitarist, a new publishing dead, new songs and (apart from Radio 1) absolutely no new fans. They don't deserve it but it seems every time they do a support gig it's a struggle to get even fifty people in the place. By the time the doors open there's only four people in the room, five technicians, and The Crimea are up on stage getting ready to sound check.
Joe says hi to me from the stage, Owen comes over to say sorry for the cancelled Nottingham gig and then gets back on stage to check his drums. After he's finished, master of the pre-show sing along Joe gave a rendition of Bloodhound Gang's 'The Bad Touch'. "You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the discover channel". Davey's the only one mad enough to join in. After Julz gives a taster of her talents it's on with the show...
There's 40 people round when debut single Lottery Winners On Acid starts up and it's like someone's put the XFM recording on full volume. Julz adds in whatever was missing in previous gigs (minus all the country type stuff heard on any recordings featuring her). Davey sounds better on guitar every time I hear him.
No wait, it's the Peel session. It's raining financial advisers again as Forgotten starts and sounds lovely. But wait for Julz's extra guitar piece and it sounds even better. Nothing new to Tragedy Rocks that I noticed, Davey's swaying away, crazy as ever, and he's got that possessed look back in his eye.
As fans are still arriving, upcoming single White Russian Galaxy gives everyone in the room an idea of what the new single will be like. I read a comment from on the Basement site before the gig that Andy looks just like 'E' from the Eels. I laughed at the time I read it, I'm laughing no more. All he needs is some hair and he can start a tribute band. Anyway, Joe's dancing along and then it's into the next track.
Fred Flintstone lets Julz do some more guitar work on her own, and sway away during the verses, until she nears the end and the old "I'm a guitar in a Crimea gig, lets break myself" curse hits her. It's back to normal after she whacks it a couple of times. I don't know which song it was but during one of them Davey was pointing and shaking his guitar at the crowd as if telling someone off with it, before letting it hang down and getting on with singing while Julz took over guitar parts.
The Miserablist Tango. No One Gets It Right. I dunno what it's called, but it's sure to be one of the great songs that should and would be a single, if it wasn't for it being stuck as a b-side in favour of something not quite as good. It's the first song I've heard by the band that I think would suit radio play, maybe I'm just too used to the others.
Along with Jesus Christ and the man from Del Monte, Allah Was Wrong. Another new one I've heard about it, now I know why. Given a bigger crowd and a mosh pit, there'd be a whole new religion based around Davey preaching to a bunch of jumping kids. With Davey still looking like he's possessed by some God sent spirit, Owen's smiling away and looks like he's enjoying himself, but it's almost the end of the set.
Opposite Ends is old. It sounds virtually the same every time I hear it but who cares, it's the last of the evening and time to enjoy some classic Crimea before the end of the show, and it's time for some off stage antics.
While people are waiting for signatures, the band are packing up their kit before the next band The Zutons take the stage, and I notice loads of Crocketts stickers over all their boxes of stuff. Gone but far from forgotten. As the Crimea go outside to pack their little white van, I follow and watch Julz and Davey have a little skate around to see who comes closest to dying. Julz wins after almost getting run over in the middle of the road, though Davey comes a very close second after making it about a mile down the street without incident.
If you're wondering who it is on the WRG cover, keep waiting cos the band aren't saying anything. "Just some photo on my bedroom floor" is again the answer from Joe. I say it's him.
A copy of the Fly article kindly provided by Craig from thecrimea.tk is duly singed by all members, and back into the venue they go to watch The Zutons and get pissed. Owen, Andy and Joe mingle with the crowd while Julz decides to start a wrestling match. With me. I think she wanted her photo taken with me. Strange coming from a finalist in Young Austrailian Of The Year 2001, anyone'd think it'd be me wanting to have my photo taken with her. When she's finished she hands me a copy of her other band Project Winterhaven's self titled EP which she handily had lying around in her guitar case. Thankyou very much.
During a goodbye to Davey he thanks me for viewing their eight song sound check. I know support gigs aren't the best for them but if that's them sounding bad, I'd love to hear them sounding good. And guess what, ten headlining gigs starting now and ending June 18th.
With all the press reviews around at the moment you'd think they were gods, I say they're a fucking strange bunch for getting all the attention they are at the moment, but they're starting to sound good enough, everything's nicely polished and there's no more noticeable accidents by Davey or Andy during the middles of songs. There's really never been a better time to go see them, so go see.
Review written 10th March 2003. Version 1.0.