"Rockin' The Robin" - The Carpet Crawlers live at The Robin Bilston on Thursday 13th July 2006. Review and photographs by Alan Hewitt.
The Robin holds a special place in my affections. The original club, based in Dudley and now sadly defunct, was the scene of my first encounter with a Genesis "tribute" band back in 1997 when I was persuaded to go and see ReGenesis for the first time. A lot of mileage has been travelled since that gig and a lot of tribute bands have graced the scene too and The Carpet Crawlers are the latest in that illustrious line.
Having watched this band develop literally since their first gig, I have always been impressed by their dedication and, at times, sheer bloody mindedness especially in the face of occasional technical problems which would have tried the patience of more than a saint! No such problems here tonight thankfully.
It was heartening to see that despite the gig taking place on a Thursday night - a notoriously bad day for attendances - with the weekend still lurking round the corner, that the crowd soon grew to a healthy size (reportedly between 250 and 300 by the end of the evening) and they were here for one reason: to see The Crawlers "turn it on" for another gig.
With none of the problems which had attended their last gig at Liverpool's Cavern Club, the band were relaxed and in good spirits as they took the stage to open the show with Watcher Of The Skies which got the proceedings off to an excellent start. The concert sound tonight , it has to be said was absolutely impeccable, sharp and clear throughout which greatly added to the enjoyment of the performance, and the lights were as tasteful as ever too so kudos to Phil, Graham and Colin for all their hard work too!
The band's set straddles Genesis greatest years like a colossus and with so much vintage material to choose from the band are obviously spoiled for choice and indeed they spoiled us too, with a selection of classic tracks. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, I Know What I Like; the ubiquitous Lamb… "stew" ,medley were all delivered piping hot for our delectation. A rare outing for Entangled took the audience by surprise and the band delivered it flawlessly; this along with Eleventh Earl Of Mar and Los Endos were personally, the true highlights of a show which was packed with them.
Musically, the band keep getting better, they have raised the bar each and every time I have seen them and they are still not content to rest on their not inconsiderable musical laurels. It has to be said that some of the tribute bands seem to treading water with their performances of late and others have lost the plot entirely, but none of that here - only a band determined to improve and entertain both their audience and themselves which is no bad thing.
The band really gelled on tracks such as Entangled where the harmonies between Peter Brew, Chris O'Connell, Neil Carter and front man Brian Cummings, really took off. Indeed, Peter's bass playing and Chris' guitar solos on Firth Of Fifth and Los Endos nearly raised the roof, while Andy Keegan's solo on the In The Cage medley really beggared belief. Musically, the band are as tight now as any of the other bands gracing the UK tribute circuit and this gig was a vintage performance from a band of the highest calibre.
The Set: Watcher Of The Skies/I Know What I Like/Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/Musical Box (Closing section)/ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/ Broadway Melody Of 74-Fly On A Windshield/Hairless Heart/Entangled/ Squonk/Eleventh Earl Of Mar/Firth of Fifth/In The Cage-Medley/Afterglow/Los Endos/Carpet Crawlers 99/Turn It On Again.