Reviews > Shows
Crocodiles at Mercury Lounge
Photo by David McDaniel
New York, NY
They’re called Crocodiles, but they felt like fireballs, in that they didn’t so much play and stay a while at the Mercury Lounge as they did hurtle through a set of music with bracing speed and white-hot intensity, leaving a destructive path and disappearing, heading back from whence they came. It was all done in 40 minutes. Off, then on, then rocking, then gone. Wham, bam, you know the rest.
It was hard to get a real sample of their live prowess in such a tightly wound, briskly moving set; their jangly scorcher of a sophomore album, Sleep Forever, feels whole and expansive, and the gig certainly didn’t. But scorching, they were: an updated take on the Jesus and Mary Chain’s own refraction of coursing 60s pop, with clattering drums and groovy rhythms, but the edges that much further frayed, the psychedelic patina more liquidy, a layer of ear-annihilating drone, and the vibe mostly more petulant than feral.
Helping that was lead singer Brandon Welchez, whose hair puffed and whose eyes glowed nasty, and whose mood grew goading, especially when he urged attendees to “Go home and berate us anonymously on BrooklynVegan,” a swing at the infamously too-hip-by-half message boards on New York’s best indie music blog. He was a winning frontman anyway; charming and disarming in the way a middle finger leavened with an I-don’t-mean-it smile is.
That was him, though, and Crocodiles are a “they.” They were practically a horde, with the duo of nominal Crocodiles Welchez and guitarist Charles Rowell abetted on tour by keyboardist Robin Eisenberg, bassist Marco Gonzalez and drummer Allana Kalaba. They had sort-of rocker garb, including Welchez’s tight-fitting motorcycle jacket. They tore through eight songs, mostly from “Sleep Forever,” including the dire-sounding fuzz storm of “Mirrors” and the slow burning “All My Hate and Hexes Are For You.” The grand finale was an anti-climax: a torridly paced reading of “I Want To Kill,” from the band’s shotgun-subtle first album, and then in what might have been an encore slot, Walchez returning to the stage to silence the drone device. It was over. Lights went up. Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love” played over imaginary end credits. A lot of people standing around wondering if that was it and admitting they dug it regardless.
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