Taking a break from opening stadiums for My Chemical Romance, L.A. shock rockers Starcrawler take a visit to the sleepy Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge for one of only 2 UK headline shows. The intimate Trades Club is the venue and its not even sold out, probably due to the fact that Aussie punks Amyl & the Sniffers are playing down the road in Leeds, taking away some potential punters.

It is busy though, and from the first howl that Arrow De Wilde yells during opener ‘Goodtime Girl’ and the ensuing goosebumps, I can tell it’s going to be a killer show. I knew Starcrawler were going to be good, but not this good. With just white satin trousers and a bikini top covering her sleight frame, Arrow struts the stage pulling all the cool rock star moves, she screams like a banshee and you can’t take your eyes off her. With a dark stage and good backlighting, she looks almost ethereal with her long blonde hair, teased higher and better than any 80’s glam band you care to mention. Imagine Patti Smith meets Michael Monroe and you’re getting close.

Live, Starcrawler are definitely the Arrow & Henri show. The livewire guitar player does not stand still and spends the majority of the one-hour set wringing seven shades of shit out of his guitar. He wrestles with the instrument like it is a weapon, like he is fighting for every note, when in reality that is far from the truth.

It doesn’t all run smoothly though. At one point he loses his guitar strap mid-song, causing a Stevie Ray Vaughn style strap change, while not dropping a note[or the guitar], very slick. The guitar player halts the show during a storming version of the Ramones ‘Pet Semetary’, when he thinks he spots some aggro in the animated and rowdy crowd. Turns out to be a false alarm and the onstage chaos and disorder resumes.

New single ‘Roadkill’ sounds fantastic, ‘I Love LA’ is a given and the country-tinged Jackass theme ‘If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough’ transcends into punk rock chaos of the highest degree, the crowd lap it up.

The Pretenders-like single ‘No More Pennies’ is a cool respite from the Stooges-like raw, punk power that has the crowd excited, but material like closer ‘Beat My Brain’, with its sonically overdriven guitar lick is where this band truly shine.

Encore ‘Chicken Woman’ is a filthy wall of Sabbath-inspired grunge that culminates with the singer jumping into the crowd for a pogo before disappearing for good. Meanwhile, her guitar-wielding cohort has coaxed a female fan onto the stage and strapped his guitar on to the bewildered girl, leaving her to strum out unknown chords to a wall of feedback, as the guitarist casually walks offstage for the final time. A brilliant climax to a short but sweet set.

Starcrawler have been wowing the My Chemical Romance fans and it is easy to see why. They have the looks, the energy and the stagecraft. They also have some bloody good tunes under their studded belts. I’d heard they were good live, but I must say I was more than impressed tonight. With 2 great albums already, an imminent 3 and a formidable live reputation, the future looks great for Starcrawler. They may not play such intimate venues on their next visit, but you must see them.

Author: Ben Hughes

Starcrawler Facebook