“The Best Of Both Worlds” - The Carpet Crawlers in concert at the Stanley Theatre Liverpool Friday 13th May 2011. Review and photographs Alan Hewitt.
Well, it has been a long, long time since I was last inside the complex that
acts as the home for the Liverpool Guild Of Students. In fact, I was probably
still a student myself at the time - yes, I CAN remember that far back - just!
Anyway, here I was again in the company of a few friends to see yet another
gig by Liverpool’s very own Genesis tribute band: The Carpet Crawlers.
As mentioned previously, the band have undergone a few personnel changes recently and tonight they featured another new face and an old one returning to the fold. Whatever the line up, the sadly less than capacity crowd were evidently ready for a good night as the band emerged on stage accompanied to the opening strains of The Battle Of Epping Forest. Surprise number one: this was indeed to be the set opener - a brave step and one which the band obviously relished. Singer and multi-instrumentalist, Brian Cummins prowled round the stage like an angry tiger while the rest of the band threw their collective muscle into a marvellous rendering of this classic.
It was evident from the outset that this was an entirely different band to previous incarnations. No nerves, and definitely nothing lacking in the performance or rehearsal sides of things. Classic after classic from the Genesis cannon followed with healthy helpings from Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Particularly impressive were the treatment given to the “Lamb Stew” medley which included several different extracts from those usually expected.
I was particularly impressed by keyboards man, Andy Keegan who gave a mighty performance on Firth of Fifth, even shrugging off the fluffed intro (well, if Tony can fuck it up, then Andy is in good company!). With Brian’s vocals augmented by those of the band’s bassist Shaun Watt, many of the songs took on a much fuller depth which stood out from previous performances that I have seen by the band. And new boy Justin Parsons did a damn fine job on one of Mr Hackett’s finest solos too boot!
Of course, we got Supper’s Ready too. And a truly delicious serving it was as well. Another aspect of the show which certainly deserves a mention was the impeccable lighting in the capable hands of Alec Morris whose work tastefully illuminated the entire evening. More Fool Me was another delightful moment with bassist Shaun Watt and Justin giving the rest of the band (and the audience) a breather with this underrated slice of acoustic Genesis.
A short interval heralded the arrival of the “new” stuff as the band took up the cudgels to tackle some of the better known tracks from the band’s later era. Dodo/Lurker and Abacab were given the hard rockin’ treatment and went down a storm. With a rock solid rhythm section including my old mate Neil Carter on drums, the band took no prisoners as they went to town on these classics. Ripples too, was given a respectful rendering with special kudos to the band’s new guitarist who took his chance to shine exceedingly well. Brian’s voice too suited the Collins era material far better this time round too. I’ve always thought his pipes were more in Gabriel’s range but tonight he acquitted himself as Mr Collins admirably.
In The Cage too benefited enormously from Alec’s lighting and the medley reached its usual dramatic climax with Afterglow which had its usual effect on yours truly! The show ended in typically emphatic style as the band unleashed themselves on Los Endos with Brian joining Neil on the “spare” drum kit to battle away throughout and the encores included the band’s own theme tune: Carpet Crawlers bringing the evening to an emotional close.
There you have it. I know I have forgotten to mention several of the tracks which the band performed but without the benefit of a set list the old grey cells aren’t what they once were. Nonetheless, what you have here is a band who have matured beyond belief. Competent, confident and above all bloody good entertainment value - excellent stuff!