The Black Lion. Strange venue. To say the venue was not the most spacious of places would be the worlds greatest ever understatement. Those of you who were lucky enough to witness the acoustic shows in the magical venue that is The Enterprise will agree that there was something quite special about such an intimate venue, a venue with a capacity of about 100 people maximum. Reduce that capacity by 50% and you are left with the venue that was played last night. As you can no doubt imagine, this was always going to be special.
I rolled in at about 9:15pm, just in time to catch the last 3 or 4 songs of the first band on the bill. They seemed pretty damned good, pretty much a punk rock outfit. A good start to the night. The moment we had all been waiting for eventually arrives(well, me and my mate anyway, and the girl and the boy with the crox army t-shirt next to us.) The Crimea take to the stage at pretty much precisely 9:45pm...A seemingly nervous Crimea.
Anyhow, Davey opens his mouth, to my ecstatic delight, he utters the words "White Russian Galaxy". This of course means that 'Who Knows' is the ice-breaker. Within seconds, any previous nervousness is thrown out of the window and violently stamped on. Good choice. By the end of the opener i'm thoroughly chuffed by how well the song has converted from CD to a live sound, with an added dose of adrenaline and passion thrown in from the boys.
'Tragedy Rocks' is up next. Only other time i've heard this song was at the first acoustic show and it would be more than fair to say that i wasn't completely with the rest of the world then (that'll be down to the Stella.) Brilliant. Can't compare it to previous performances of the song... but definately brilliant.
Pencilled in as their debut single, 'Lottery Winners on Acid' is the third track performed. This song has a dream like quality and it is over before i know it. In my opinion it is a strange choice for their first official release, but then again, what do i know? According to the setlist 'Utopia' is meant to be the next song..but it's not, 'Fred Flinstone' is, and Davey comments that "it's turning into an all acoustic affair." The reason for this change being that during 'Tragedy Rocks', Davey got a bit too excited and snapped a few strings on his electric guitar. But everythings back on track again by the end of Fred Flinstone, the guitar techs repaired the strings and Davey boldly announces "Bombay Sapphire Coma", so it's now Utopia. Faultless.
Time for the big introduction. "We're a new band. We're The Crimea...and if you wanna see my happy side tell me my Girl Just Died." Along with 'Who Know's', this is the song of the set so far. Davey frantically stamps on the floor, and this, in my view, is where the band crank it up a notch. This song is quite simply brilliant, not much more you can say. Crowd pleaser 'Opposite Ends' is now unleashed. Fly's by.
How does the phrase go?... 'save the best for last'. Well i can tell you now, The Crimea certainly did. 'I've met the Lord' (or Dead Alcos Kidneys) is an absolute gem. Believe the message board hype. If you've not heard it, I suggest you see The Crimea as soon as possible, no matter how far you have to travel. This song is the song which will have you saying, "The Crocketts...don't remember them" (well, not quite, but you get the gist. Basically, if you're having trouble letting go, listen to this). Couldn't think of a better song to end the gig on. Davey triumphantly ends the set by headbutting the microphone and its stand to the floor on the last chord and heads off into the night after a few customary polite "Thank you's"
Owen seemed, dare i say it, pissed off at the end, don't know why?, perhaps due to the fact that they were playing second fiddle to a band that looked like they've been hanging out in the same kinky dungeon as Jamie Theakston. Least said about them the better.
All this in one night, and it was FREE!!!. Unbelievable. Anyone who has doubts about the fact a lead guitarist was replaced with a keyboardist can lay those doubts to rest. It works. And it works very well indeed.
Review by Ady Davey, 17th September 2002.
Photos by Tina Mcclelland.