Ah, Underworld. So many incomplete memories of too many nights out. So many vivid memories of strange men standing just a bit too close when you’re just trying to have a night out with friends. Despite my current opinion of Underworld, it will always hold a special place in my wannabe-Camden-rocker heart. So much so when I saw Starcrawler were playing I knew I had to go, if only to see what a gig night was like there.
Walking in, my sober self unjustifiably felt the same thrill getting past security as I normally do when they fail to notice I’m completely inebriated. The support, Pretty Sick, were drawling out some doom-inspired punk songs, with singer Sabrina Fuentes rasping over them in her New York twang. They were actually pretty sick, seemingly holding some good core grunge principles to heart while incorporating an indie twist in their guitar line. The anticipation grew after Pretty Sick finished, a rising hubbub in the air as the crowd mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for the incoming onslaught.
Eventually, with anticipation at a high, the headliner appeared, one by one as first drums then bass, guitar and finally vocals built up to their first song ‘Home Alone’. Starcrawler then kicked into one of their first releases, ‘Used to Know’, off their first EP which went on to garner them plenty of attention. The riff-driven, catchy tune soon had a pit going while singer Arrow de Wilde (real name) literally pranced about above us, stretching and rolling across the stage. A few songs later and guitarist Henri Cash’s cheesy grins emanated across the room as he strutted his stuff wearing a white cowboy suit covered in glittery roses and ants. This was a nod to their other first song ‘Ants’ which they then rushed into, de Wilde capturing our attention while performing as she first strangled herself with the mic cable before making obscene gestures with the mic itself.
However, the majority of the songs throughout the set seemed to be lacking, despite the energy from the band and crowd. Their punk energy and style didn’t quite match up with the music, with lots of their similar pop-punk tracks making the set feel bunched into one unenthusiastic song. This was evident with songs like ‘Hollywood Ending’ and ‘Tank Top’, although notable songs that came across incredibly well live included ‘Lizzy’, ‘She Gets Around’ and the Marc Bolan-inspired riffage in ‘Pussy Tower’. Starcrawler even treated us to a rendition of their cover of Ramones’ ‘Pet Sematary’, as featured in the credits of the latest remake of the Stephen King classic. Finishing up the set, ‘Train’ built up the energy again to throw the crowd into a frenzy, before new hit ‘Bet My Brains’ closed up the show.
Overall, I left not feeling bowled over, but I definitely hadn’t wasted my time creeping back to Underworld again.