Live Review: Crocodiles

Live Review: Crocodiles

Music to make your brain throb and your mouth grin from ear to bleeding ear. Stereo, Glasgow, Tuesday, July 28

What can you do with 20 minutes? That’s the unspoken question that Crocodiles pose with well-placed arrogance to any band who consider themselves worthy of rock’n’roll. In less time than it takes us to finish a drink, the San Diego duo have come and gone in a red-lit maelstrom of seething, pulsating punk rock reminiscent of The Velvet Underground at their sleaziest or The Jesus And Mary Chain at their most dangerous. This is pure, 100 per-cent-proof, full-potency Dark Stuff: music to make your brain throb and your mouth grin from ear to bleeding ear. And it doesn’t even last as long as an episode of Friends.

From the cocksure uptown strut of ‘Neon Jesus’ onwards, guitarist Charles Rowland and frontman Brandon Welchez cut menacing, malcontented figures, with Rowland conjuring up squalls of sound and fury in one corner and Welchez spasming angrily around his microphone in the other, apparently unable to stand still. Both of them look like they have a vampiric aversion to daylight and deadly allergies to nutrition. But like the Mary Chain, behind the wall of noise and achingly cool spectacle there’s an abundance of great tunes, like the woozy, opiated ‘Summer Of Hate’ or the wide-eyed, anthemic and decidedly misanthropic ‘I Wanna Kill’ – the oddly uplifting sound of teenage frustration taken out on a killing spree.

Yes, they’re the sort of band who wear sunglasses at night and yes, a pedant might describe them as ‘derivative’, albeit only of genuinely brilliant bands (and The Sisters Of Mercy), and only ever in the most tasteful way possible. But every once in a while, we want to listen to something and fear for our lives, our sanity, our very souls. In 20 filthy, fucked-up minutes, Crocodiles manage to make us do just that. No encores. No chat. Just lean, bloodied, off-the-bone rock’n’roll. If only all bands were this economical.

Barry Nicolson