Live review: Crocodiles @ the Larimer LoungeBy Matt Miller | March 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
Anyone who hasn’t seen Crocodiles play live has never really heard the San Diego noise-pop band –– mostly because no one’s speakers could possibly go loud enough. Originally a two-piece as vocalist Brandon Welchez and guitarist Charles Rowell, the duo now tours with three other members to create a wall of sound with hints of darkness, a touch of surf rock and a lot of distortion. And Friday night at the Larimer Lounge, Crocodiles brought the decibels and what’s left of the hype the group has had since before their 2009 debut album.
Having caused a sensation on the Internet early in their career, Crocodiles have been battling not-so-flattering comparisons to bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, and in Denver it seemed the group was losing some steam. The view from the stage was a much different one for the band than when they sold out the Larimer Lounge a little more than a year ago. With the venue only about half full, Crocodiles moved through waves of fuzz and constant sonic bombardment, playing songs mostly from their 2010 sophomore album.
Photos, below, from a 2011 show at the Larimer Lounge.
During nearly every song Welchez’s voice was all but drowned out by the crunch of the guitars and with the amps up so loud there wasn’t much anyone running sound could do about it. Which is unfortunate, because when the band expanded to a five piece it added keyboardist Robin Rosenberg, who was nearly always washed out by distorted bass. Occasionally, as in the band’s third song, the anthem-like “Hearts Of Love,” the vocals and the melodies were able to poke through.
On stage, only Welchez and Rowell showed any real enthusiasm. Welchez kicked around the stage while Rowell attacked his guitar with a permanent oh-face throughout the entire set. A few times Welchez would attempt to talk to the audience, but the reverb on his microphone made him nearly incomprehensible. The only audible comment he made was about how drunk he gets at Colorado altitude.
The fans that did brave the cold Friday night brought a bit of passion. A few sang along at points, and one eager fan tried briefly to start some light moshing. The audience was given a treat when the group did play a few new tracks. But after about 45 minutes Crocodiles rather abruptly walked off stage. They returned immediately, played “Groove Is In the Heart / California Girls” and ended the show in less than an hour, leaving the stage with an echoing feedback loop. Maybe when Crocodiles return after their next album, their noise will be greeted by some replenished buzz.
Matt Miller is a new contributor to Reverb.