A dark, converted cinema is an apt location for the emergence of the latest L.A. hard rock import to hit these shores, Starcrawler. Much has been written - not least by GigList - about their youth, recent debut album, and their Black Sabbath influences, but it’s their live show that is quickly becoming a hot topic on both sides of the Atlantic.
Taking to the stage of The Haunt in Brighton, Starcrawler rip straight into their fuzzy, screaming, noise-rock to an eager and strangely, mixed audience. A small group of Brighton youth rubbing shoulders with the usual bearded rock suspects, with a smattering of polite older contingent, make for interesting bedfellows. Collectively the band look as if pieced together from an array of different sources, from Americana, to Grunge, and all-out punk rock - their sound, however, sits firmly in the latter.
The sound and songs bleed into one another, in one long continuous riotous stomp. Fuzzy, howling guitars and a rock solid rhythm section provide a sizeable slab of 70’s punk for front-woman, Arrow de Wilde to lead the proceedings. Blending the stage moves of Iggy Pop and posturing of the New York Dolls, with a slice of Steve Jones’ punch in the mouth guitar, Starcrawler signal a reemergence in the indie scene of the heavy sounds of the late 70s, but without ever drifting into nostalgia.
De Wilde is all sequins, torn lace, and contortionist angles: a garbage doll Riotgrrl. Enticing the audience before spitting fake blood in their grinning faces, her stage presence is powerful and well practised. With a voice and a snarl that rises enough above the din to be heard, reminiscent of a less vengeful Courtney Love, she leads her gang well. Mic stands get thrown into the crowd and the interplay between the singer and guitarist shows a band that have crafted their show on the road.
Songs like ‘Ants’ and ‘I Love LA’ bring cheers of familiarity from the audience, but this show isn’t about recognition - it’s a cathartic expulsion of rawness and youth power. This is Starcrawler’s party - and we should be damn pleased to be invited.