“Genesis through the ages” - The Carpet Crawlers in concert at the 02 Academy Liverpool 28th January 2011. Review and photographs by Alan Hewitt.
Well, the North West is extremely fortunate to be served by two of the best Genesis tribute bands in the UK. Face Value have morphed into Mama and my review of their debut gig can be found elsewhere in this edition. In addition to them, we also have The Carpet Crawlers who for the last few years have been assiduously ploughing their own furrow and growing in stature and deserved popularity in equal measures.
I have had the great pleasure of watching this band develop and grow ever since their first gig. And just how much they have grown was to be amply demonstrated at the Academy tonight! Once again opening with The Battle Of Epping Forest, the band took to the stage amid cheers from the expectant crowd. We were not disappointed, and “The Reverend Cummings” and his band of merry men regaled us with this tale of sin and debauchery in fine style setting the tone for the rest of what was to be a marathon performance.
This was quickly followed by a trip a little further Westward, as the Cosmic Lawnmower was unleashed and I Know What I Like got the crowd into the swing of audience participation. No rest for the wicked though as the gardening theme was continued with the story of a garden plant’s revenge on the human race aka: The Return Of The Giant Hogweed kept the pace up with a truly manic performance with Brian rampaging around the stage like the subject of the song whilst the rest of the band rampaged a bit more sedately (if you can rampage sedately?).
With a show of over three hours’ duration promised, I was surprised to hear Supper’s Ready performed so early in the show but its position didn’t spoil things, far from it. With a full range of costumes and a superlative light show accompanying the band, the angel very nearly did appear in the sun at the end but not before the band had delivered what has to be one of the most impressive renderings of this epic that I have seen by any tribute band.
Musical Box and Firth of Fifth too really delivered the goods. The band’s new guitarist (whose name sadly I didn’t catch when Brian introduced him) and Andy Keegan on keyboards shone particularly well during the latter track but the ensemble all took their parts with evident relish and enjoyment which was reciprocated by the crowd.
I was surprised when Neil Carter, the band’s drummer took front stage to join bass player Chris Watt for a delightful performance of the underrated More Fool Me - I have known Neil for over twenty years and never realised he is as good a singer as he is a drummer - well done, mate!
Moving forward slightly the band then served us up their very own Lamb Stew, or as Brian put it; Scouse next with a very tasty run through of Broadway Melody of 1974 and Fly On A Windshield which brought the first half of this electrifying show to a close.
Phil era Genesis was the order of the day for the second half of the show as the band returned to the stage with the rocking Dodo/Lurker and it has to be said, I have no idea how Brian’s vocal chords stood up to it but he certainly “gave it some welly” as we say up here! In The Cage took us back to the Gabriel era but in the form which it latterly took as part of a medley culminating in the truly awesome Afterglow which once again had the usual effect on yours truly.
I was surprised to hear both Ripples and Robbery, Assault & Battery included in the set, the latter saw Brian clad appropriately in mask and hat with a jacket which he may well have purchased from a mad American as Phil had done before him. Once again, Andy really shone on the former track while the rest of the band played their parts with consummate skill.
Home By The Sea gave Brian another excuse to get behind the drum kit to join Neil in trying to dismantle the venue while the rest of the band ensured that they played their part in assaulting the audience’s senses. Credit here too to Alec Morris whose lighting had already done a fantastic job throughout but reached new heights here - almost the real thing at times and I don’t say that lightly either!
Other classics came thick and fast before the show was brought to a close by the expected Los Endos and yet more percussive duelling between Brian and Neil and equally ferocious combat was joined by the rest of the band. Returning to the stage for their well deserved encores the band eventually closed this mammoth celebration of Genesis’ music with their own theme tune; Carpet Crawlers and then it was all over. Three and a bit hours gone in the blink of an eye. Time definitely flies when you are having fun and I haven’t had this much fun in ages. Credit to Brian and the band for putting so much effort into what is a truly spectacular show. Sound and vision were as near perfect as you could possibly have without the band actually BEING Genesis and from their humble beginnings, the Carpet Crawlers have definitely arrived - well done guys an excellent evening’s entertainment!