“All In A Cameraman‘s Night” - The Carpet Crawlers live at the Old Red Lion, Little Sutton on Thursday 24th September 2009. Review and photographs by Alan Hewitt.
It has been a while since I last had the chance to see the band in action, and since then there have been some changes to their line up but here they were once more ready to go. Were they any good? We shall see…
First of all, you will have to forgive me if memory fails me at times. I didn’t get a set list and so this review may not necessarily include every track that the band played nor the order in which they were performed - old age comes to all of us eventually! I will take a notepad with me next time! The first thing I noticed on arriving at the venue was the expanded lighting rig, which the crew were still assembling when I got there. As a result of this, the rest of the assemblage of the band’s gear seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, leaving very little time for any sort of sound check, always an essential to iron out any technical gremlins that may be lurking in the woodwork (or should that be metalwork?!) - especially for a band so prone to technical issues as The Carpet Crawlers have been in the past!
Anyway, the band eventually got their act together and got on stage to strut their stuff and opened their set with a competent rendering of Behind The Lines setting the tone for the rest of the show. The first tracks to make any real impression on me were the pairing of I Know What I Like and Firth Of Fifth from Selling England By The Pound. With no guitarist in the band’s line up at present, it fell to singer; Brian Cummings to step into Mr Hackett’s shoes and it has to be said, he acquitted himself adequately in the job. Musically, the rest of the band put in a useful but not enthralling performance although, once again keyboard player; Andy Keegan seemed to be struggling at times but I think that was more due to nerves than anything else. Andy is a fine player but he has the tendency to rush his fences sometimes instead of going with the flow but when he hits the accents - it is always a pleasure to watch him play. It might also help if Andy had a job which actually allowed him some sleep before gigs - he looked absolutely shattered, poor sod!
We were next served up a helping of Lamb “stew” but even I have to admit to being totally surprised by the inclusion of a performance of The Chamber Of 32 Doors which was simply superb - everyone was in total synch during this one and it was a delight to watch. So too, was The Lamb itself.
The rest of the show gave us a mix and match of some of Genesis; finest moments including excellent renderings of In The Cage complete with the usual medley and Afterglow finale which worked very well augmented by some fine lighting effects from young Alec who has obviously been putting some serious time in watching the live films ( any excuse!). New member Christopher Watt also excelled here on bass with some fine playing and he’s no slouch on guitar or vocals either!” A rather late Supper’s Ready also went off well although there were some hairy moments at times with the usual technical gremlins without which this wouldn’t really be a Carpet Crawlers gig but the band overcame them eventually with the application of someone’s favourite hammer I suspect, and acquitted themselves very well. I for one was grateful that Brian had ditched the awful “costumes” which had “dis” graced several previous gigs, but even I had to smile when he donned “ a flower” during this performance.
We even got some later period Genesis too in the form of Dodo/Lurker and Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea which I was surprised to hear given the band’s previous disavowal of anything post-Duke in the band’s catalogue. Once again, these tracks were given adequate treatment by the band who didn’t really seem to be too enthusiastic about performing them. The audience seemed to like the performance though, although I do have some sympathy for the poor soul who kept on crying out “weed!” I assume he was requesting a performance of The Return Of The Giant Hogweed and not asking for some illicit substance?! Although, as I have mentioned before, the lighting rig has been extended, it was during these two songs in particular that I felt it was rather too large to be properly appreciated in a venue such as this but that’s a minor quibble really.
Los Endos finished the evening and it was a polished performance, with drummer Neil Carter taking the plaudits here - managing to give us a creditable recreation of the double drums on one kit - the man’s a f**kin’ octopus! The rest of the band raged quietly (?) around him bringing the evening to a suitably explosive close.
There you have it. There was some major fall-out from my last review of this band (see “Practice Makes Perfect - Some Of The Time” feature in issue #64) but as anyone who knows me, will tell you; I tell it like I see it and if they don’t like it - TOUGH! Tonight there were none of the problems which caused my comments then - apart from the fact that the band’s singer pointedly and rather childishly ignored me all night but there ya go - can’t be Mr Popularity with everyone now, can I? If you don’t like honest criticism, Brian, then DON’T front a band, mate! I’ve taken more than my fair share over the years, haven’t I? The sound and vision were more than adequate in fact, the lighting was excessive and would have benefited more from being used in a bigger, proper concert venue but it was always tasteful and on occasions, downright impressive - Alec’s work has definitely come of age! Yes, there were technical issues, but hey shit happens to the best of bands although the regularity with which it seems to occur at gigs by this band is a point of some concern. It did not stop the band’s performance though it has to be said that once again, the performance would have benefited from more rehearsal time. On this showing, The Carpet Crawlers are still a long way from true “match fitness” but they are getting there and if they can get a full-time guitarist (and keep him this time!) and if regular gigs can become the norm in these credit crunch affected times, then they should be welcomed back into the Genesis tribute band circuit. Oh, and if anyone is wondering about the title of this review, let me explain. It seems to be the case that whenever I attend a Crawlers gig, I end up being roped in as band film maker and tonight was no exception - hope the end result was OK, Neil?