Wednesday, 3 November 2010

298 VELVET CRUSH, Pusherman, Birmingham Hibernian, Wednesday 12 July 1995

Whoo, where to start on this one? I picked up the NME this morning and noticed a tiny note in the small Gig news section, to the effect that not only were the Crush playing this gig tonight, but that they were doing so with Gigolo Aunts frontman Dave Gibbs in tow! So, I took a crazy flyer and headed off, getting to the gig (following lucid instructions provided by the venue) in time to catch Dave and the Crush walking up the road, saying "hey" in the process!

After a quick drink, I went into the venue - a dingy and totally rock'n'roll pub side room with posters blacking out the windows - to catch the jolly unnamed Blur-esque local support band dish out some derivative but cute Brit-pop.

I wandered out during Pusherman's clumsy noise of a main support set, and got to hang out with a now-returned Dave Gibbs and the Crush's vocalist Paul Chastain in their tour van. Cool! Dave was genuinely pleased to see me and we spent over 1/2 hour chatting, catching up and listening to good, rockier-sounding demos from the new Gigolo Aunts LP, currently tentatively called "Trying Out For The Race". Dave also played me a track by a hot new band he thought I needed to hear, which turned out to be 1994 Reading Fest's top new band Scarce!

Bopped back in - a late gig, this - in time for The Crush taking the stage at 10.45. Drummer and band-leader Ric Menck, red t-shirted and handlebar moustache gone, was again the star of the show, popping upfront to chat to the audience and introduce the band including, "Dave, who has his own band The Gigolo Aunts, who had a top 30 hit with "Where I Find My Sunshine"!". The sound was brilliant, pindrop-perfect, and the Crush were dynamic and barnstorming, concentrating on the rockier elements of their sweeping 60's-influenced musical range, and Dave's rhythm attack and unique harmonies augmented their sound marvellously.

The set, however, REALLY took flight after Ric dealt with a drunken heckler, who, he said afterwards, "really bummed me out". Despite remaining kit-bound thereafter, he led the band through the remainder of the set in totally blistering fashion, scorching though the numbers in incendiary fashion, as though they had to prove their rock credentials. Nothing to prove to me, though, as I formed the apex of an expanding and enthusiastic moshpit. Brilliant beyond words!

Mutual compliments with Dave and Paul afterwards, and a quick chat with Ric, before hitting the road with my ears ringing. Well worth it - and the midweek late night; in at 1.30 am! - though, for one of the best gigs of this, or indeed, any year!

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