THE Crookes were on the very same Bodega stage in 2012, and while they’re as energetic as ever, there’s a new maturity to the Sheffield four.

Beginning with Don’t Put Your Faith in Me, the night was a chase to showcase their third LP, Soapbox: a brooding collection of poetic lyrics that celebrate the Outsider and rejoice in the rebellion.

First night of the tour, and the crowd’s reaction to the infectious Maybe in the Dark and the heavier Bear’s Blood soothed singer George Waites’ ‘first night jitters’.

The band’s influences span the decades, with finger clicks and 1950s polish to Yes, Yes We Are Magicians and the crooning melodies of the Housemartins on Backstreet Lovers.

Waite’s moving solo performance of The I Love You Bridge had scaling vocals and Billy Bragg’s blunt electric guitar strums.

Their gentlemanly dress sense of button-up shirts and brogues is the perfect fit for their new found confidence; Waite complains of his stifling suit just one song in. But while there may be songs of self-reflection and early mid-life crises, their lively, youthful sound is here to stay.

Ending with sing-along Afterglow, The Crookes have proved there’s plenty of perks to being a wallflower.

Written for the Nottingham Post. Published in print 17th April



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