Starcrawler

by Evan Phillips

Saturday 20th January, Thekla (Bristol)

Rough Trade’s L.A darlings embark on their first full-length UK tour, and they’re here to ‘kill you’…

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Photo credit: Starcrawler Facebook.

Starcrawler are new, and I mean that in almost every sense of the word. When singer Arrow de Wilde (18) recruited guitarist Henri Cash (then 16) at the pair’s Los Angeles High School, drummer Austin Smith and bassist Tim Franco (both under 21) joined quickly thereafter and the band wrote their first single, the sub-two-minute garage-blues freakout Ants, days after first performing and have essentially been on the up ever since. Championed by everyone from Elton John to Dave Grohl, they’ve already opened for fellow LA rockers The Lemon Twigs and January will see the release of their rapidly composed debut album on Rough Trade; produced and recorded by none other than Ryan Adams entirely onto tape at his Pax Am studio. Promise doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Obviously, if Starcrawler is a new name to you then the question will probably be, ‘does the music hold up?’ and praise be to the gods of rock because the answer is a very loud YES. Scroll through the comments of any video of the band live and you’ll see comparisons to the Ramones, Ozzy, Joan Jett (and Cherie Currie), Iggy and the Stooges and Alice Cooper. Latest single I Love LA is glam-punk in its purest form; played with real vitality and gusto, the guitars raw, the drums punchy, the basslines thick and the vocals thrilling. Incidentally, ‘thrilling’ is perhaps the only way to even begin describing Starcrawler’s live antics. While Cash is scissor-kicking, de Wilde has been owning the stage covered in blood, biting members of the audience and donning hospital gowns and straitjackets to generally act like a woman possessed when she isn’t howling into the mic.

I’ve always hated the term ‘to save rock and roll’ as though it’s a child no one watches that continuously falls down wells, but if like me you see a few too many rock bands playing it a safe with their records and their shows, then Starcrawler are here to attach jump-leads to your world. See them now before they either get huge or get arrested.