Just what more can be said about Starcrawler? Their Norwich gigs just never cease to amaze me. I was overjoyed when I learned that PRB Presents was bringing them back to Norwich as part of a six-date UK leg of their European tour (that took in Glastonbury the previous day), however, before I learned of the Norwich booking I had already bought a ticket for their London show thinking that might be my only chance to see them. Not to worry though, I was more than happy to see them twice in a week! This time I was also in my Outline capacity so will link that later.
As thrilling and amazing as that gig at The Dome in Tufnell Park was, there is just something extra special about seeing a favourite band in your favourite venue in your home city, plus something magical seems to happen when Starcrawler play here. London was great but as Echo and the Bunnymen apparently used to say (as their yardstick for amazing gigs) “It was good but it wasn’t a Norwich!” My own gig barometer these days is if it is exceptional it makes me forget about my aching legs, and this one certainly did that.
Support was again from Plague Vendor, hailing from the outskirts of LA. They rather blew me away at The Dome so I wanted to make sure I caught their set in Norwich too. The crowd went even more wild for them here than they did in London, crazy scenes and the most explosive, impressive support slot I can remember for a long time.
There was such a strong sense of excitement and anticipation ahead of the appearance onstage of Starcrawler. The sold out NAC had the hall already full and with loads of people claiming a spot at the front against the barrier well ahead of set time. I noticed a lot of new faces here with a noticably younger crowd bringing down the average age considerably.
When the band, and moments later Arrow appeared the crowd roared a welcome. Starcrawler were, as always, in blistering form and without a day off on this UK leg they were tight. There were little things one could notice that were really impressive too. Being near to the front I could see that midway through the set there was an issue with the cymbals on the drum-kit and to cover the field repairs Arrow continued to lay dramatically prone on the stage before leaping up and hitting herself on the head as she paced around with the mic causing loud “pop” sounds. Henri bashed out false intros until he considered we were lively enough and when the kit was fixed they launched into an anthemic I Love LA which appeared to have the entire hall singing along. I think the band may have loved us a little bit more for this, it was a special moment and highlight. These antics served to distract from the technical repairs and keep the show rolling on without disrupting the mood and energy of the set, great improvisation.
This was a show so immersive and spellbinding that I totally forgot everything outside of the gig, it was incredible. They connected strongly with an audience who were going bonkers for them, moshing and singing back the words. Recent singles Hollywood Ending and She Gets Around are welcome additions to the set as a handful of newer songs I do not yet know the titles of. Starcrawler are seemingly constantly touring so it’s good to know they are also finding the time for new songs and perhaps a new album is not far off. The production on She Gets Around in particular is the closest yet to capturing their live energy and sound. Of course regular set favourites such as Ants, Pussy Tower, Train and Chicken Woman remain too and made for a blistering set of an hour or so that will live long in the memory. At the end Arrow disappeared via the audience’s hands and Henri plucked an audience member to finish the set with his guitar.
I saw an Outline colleague after the show and was keen to see if they had won him over. His expression concerned me for the briefest moment until he revealed he’d just bought a t-shirt!
At the end of the gig there was a lot of interest in the merch table, when the band themselves appeared there was a queue for merch, handshakes, selfies and signatures that one rarely sees. I’d bought all my record sleeves with me to be signed and they happily signed all of them. Henri jokingly asked if I was putting them on ebay but actually the truth is more like the opposite as having thought I’d bagged one of the extremely limited edition runs of the album on pre-order some time ago I was horrified when it got lost in the post. Rough Trade readily replaced it but of course the limited edition copies had all gone by then so I had to source one on discogs for considerably more than I’d already paid. It turned into by far the most expensive album purchase I have ever made but I don’t begrudge it, I really wanted to have a copy as I love this band so much.
It was so good to chat with them all and basically just thank them for some of my all-time favourite gigs … and to plead with them to come back here again, obviously. I think they enjoyed themselves and remarked on the special energy of the place. A lot of that is down to them too of course but Norwich and Starcrawler do seem to really connect.