Crowns - The Old Blue Last
Live Review

Crowns – The Old Blue Last, London

Cornish folk/punk (or ‘fish-punk’ as they would prefer) unit, ‘Crowns’, seemed to have all the makings to steal the night at The Old Blue Last following some stellar support from chirpy Irish punks ‘The Lagan’ who ensured that the drinks were flowing and the crowd ready for the hearty sing-a-longs and anthemic choruses that ‘Crowns’ should be delivering by the bucket load. Even in a venue filled with the Shoreditch cool serving only premium lagers, the atmosphere was transformed into a rowdy bar filled with salty sea dogs and stirring shanties before ‘Crowns’ even graced the stage. However, once they got into motion, they failed to capitalise on the opportunity laid out for them.

They’ve clearly kept close to their folk (or fish) roots and the joyful melodies flowing out of the mandolin filled their sound with plenty of chirpy tunes, but they neglected their punk side to give a performance that contained far too little ferocity, energy or fun. Credit must go to bassist Jake Butler who was consistently exciting and playful throughout the set, but with his bandmates around focusing far too much on a traditional Cornish folk sound, the overall impression was weak from a band that sound so strong on record. Frontman Bill Jefferson seemed to be on autopilot for a lot of the set and failed to captivate or fight for the crowd’s attention. Maybe a more seasoned folk fan would have taken more from the performance given that their playing was near faultless and their attention to detail in their songcraft was highly impressive. However, the punk on show was a lot less ‘Sex Pistols’, ‘Iggy Pop’ and ‘Green Day’ and lot more ‘Status Quo’.

It’s unfair to write ‘Crowns’ off from this performance, but given that they’ve supported the likes of ‘Dropkick Murphys’ and ‘The King Blues’, they should have enough punk spirit in their souls to stir up The Old Blue Last into a frenzy with ease. Had their music been more complex or richer, their approach may have been justified. Sadly, it wasn’t. These were simple songs designed to get the whole room bellowing out in unison, not just the few sloshed people leaning on each other. Some credit must go the the main support act ‘The Lagan’ whose fighting spirit complete with tin whistle stole the show away from ‘Crowns’.

Venue: The Old Blue Last, London
Support Band: The Lagan

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