Skip to content

Gig Review: CRAWLERS @ Thekla

The right direction for alt-rock. Crawlers take on Thekla at Halloween.

By Connor Acres, First Year Physics & Philosophy

With a noticeable resurgence of alt-rock and punk bands grabbing mainstream attention, many fans of the genres are left wondering what the new sound will be, how the genres can be re-defined decades later. Crawlers should be viewed as a band at the forefront of this new sound. A band that Nirvana would be proud to see gaining headway in the music scene, they promote positive messages about mental health; protesting the right wing; and feminism.

Thekla was the first venue at the start of their second UK tour (with every gig a sell-out). The rain was pouring while everyone stood dressed up for the Halloween costume contest Crawlers set up on their Instagram. The demographic varied from young teenagers waiting to hear their angst fuelled band, to middle-aged alternative rock lovers who were there to see their genre rebooted in 2022.

First was the supporting act Daisy Brain, a solo artist who is a breath of fresh air to the modern punk scene. He ran out on stage dressed up along with everyone else as Rick from Rick and Morty and smashed out an energetic set. With vocal delivery sometimes leaning into the style of Mark E. Smith, a driving bass line and discordant drums and guitar fills, Daisy Brain set the bar high for the headliners.

Between the two acts, the crowd screamed along to mid-2000 classics from Paramore to Wheatus and gave such a heart-wrenching rendition of 'Welcome to the Black Parade' by My Chemical Romance, that the band posted their reaction backstage on their Instagram story. Crawlers swept out onto the stage and jumped straight into their set.

The vocalist and frontwoman Holly Minto has a unique performance style that moves from slow delicate movements to with smooth vocal lines, to frantic angry jumping around (like any good performer should). There was some interplay between the lead vocalist and the rest of the band and while there are limitations with such a small stage to move around, the band created the best atmosphere they could with the space available. The guitarist and bassist stuck to the typical stage presence of playing their instruments and looking cool doing it.

The songs themselves varied in topic, one new song from their latest EP Loud Without Noise a political rebellion against the new prime minister Rishi Sunak’s comment that “musicians and others in [the] arts should retrain and find other jobs”.  Other songs used the punk format of music to express anger around heavy issues such as consent in ‘F*** Me (I Didn’t Know How To Say)’.

CRAWLERS / Lusha Alic, Chuff Media

The avid fans roared when favourites such as ‘I Can’t Drive’ were played. Speeches of positivity about mental health and the Crawlers fan base being a family and a safe space before delving into the poignant song, ‘Hang Me Like Jesus’, really set the band apart as a sincere group who understand how their music resonates with the fans.

Structurally the band broke tradition and left the stage early almost mid-set, eliminating the “one more song” chant at the end of every concert. They came back, played a few of their bigger songs and announced the winner of the costume contest, a man dressed as Wallace from Wallace and Gromit, who was gifted a one of a kind signed copy of the band dressed as the power-puff girls.

To finish, they played the song that put them on the map ‘Come Over Again’. They promptly left and the lights were on and ABBA was put on blaring - the one way to get rid of a rock audience.

Crawlers do so many things differently, pushing the genre and form of alt-rock to focus on issues that need attention, that need expression more than ever. Although their current tour has sold out, look out or their name on any posters for a live performance you will remember.

Featured Image: Lusha Alic, Chuff Media

Have you seen CRAWLERS live?