LIVE: Crooks / Solemn Sun @ The Garage, London

By Jess Tagliani

Tonight is a celebration of just how far Crooks have come. The Cheltenham quintet has been working tirelessly over the last few years; they’ve played countless shows and festivals, displaying their impressive prowess when performing their emotionally raw tracks. And now, with their debut album ‘Are We All the Same Distance Apart’ having been released to critical acclaim, it’s only appropriate that they celebrate by bringing down The Garage in London.

Solemn Sun start off the evening with their alternative ambient-rock. Despite their more laid back vibe, there’s no denying that these guys still hold plenty of power in their drum loops and outstanding vocals. New single ‘Bloom’ is a mere taster of what they have to offer; organic rock that stands out from the masses with their quietly strong vocals.

When Crooks take to the stage, most are holding their breath with trepidation – the group had to cancel their earlier UK dates, as well as their EU shows, due to frontman Josh’s ill-health. However, any fears soon blow over when the group quickly get stuck in with tracks like ‘Dear Reader’ and ‘Schöne Seele’; each riffs soars and Josh’s vocals sound strong and sure, when he does sing. Obviously wary of damaging his throat, he lets the hardcore fans down the front take over on vocal duties quite often. It’s a shame, and rather frustrating, as he’s a very talented and capable vocalist when he is at full health.

‘What Might Have Been’ heightens the crowd’s emotion even more; Chris Capewell of Solemn Sun steps in to provide his guest vocals, making the track even more haunting and atmospheric. It sounds absolutely huge in such a small venue, and is incredibly poignant.

Every word is loaded with passion and adrenaline; ‘A Few Peaceful Days’ sees the room roar back the opening line of “I question it all/I’ve never sung of love before” with a fiery energy, topped off with intense, heavy drum work, and boisterous riffs. It’s fast and it’s angsty, full of strong energy.

Despite Josh’s health, Crooks pulled together to bring a roaring show packed full of punchy tracks that are powerful, thundering, and emotionally bruising. A fantastic night to showcase some brilliant work by an outstanding band; here’s to hoping that they continue riding this upward trajectory, as Crooks truly deserve all the best.