Live at Cockpit on Monday, 18th February 2002
What a stupid rule! You're in the venue but to get to the room where the bands will be performing you have to go back outside and round to the other entrance instead of walking ten yards through the doors in front of you, quickly supping off the fresh pint you've just acquired! Bloody rubbish!
After braving the chilly air it's not long before The Crescent take to the stage. I don't know anything about this band but I immediately get the impression that these young fellas are from Liverpool. I'm not sure why exactly; maybe it's the singer's resemblance to Robbie Fowler, perhaps because I can't understand a word between songs. It's confirmed with a sound that borrows heavily from Cast and, on one track, Echo And The Bunnymen with a guitar sound and bass line that shouts out "People Are Strange". There is one moment of interest as a rockabilly beat drives along the standout track but on the whole The Crescent fail to impress. They're not a particularly bad band, it's just there's not a lot to like about them. The drummer is hero and villain with a great swagger around the kit and some imaginative rhythms but sometimes he's guilty of letting things slip a little, in particular in shifting from intros to verses. The band have a single out in April and you can imagine that it will sound quite nice if the production is good, but as a live band there's still plenty to do. Dust of your old Cast albums and save yourself a trip out in the cold British air.
At every gig you go to you can guarantee that there will be one girl who just blows you away. Idly glancing around the room you'll see her. There might be prettier girls, girls with nicer figures, maybe more intelligent girls and girls with nicer personalities. But for that evening she's the object of your desire. Tonight I spot said girl after Haven perform latest single "Say Something", which is quite the opposite of what I do. "Say Something" is the strongest song in Haven's set in terms of the "hit" factor. It's short yet anthemic with a great guitar hook. During the solo guitarist Nat Watson even swaggers to the front of the stage and places his foot on the monitor. With an impressive lighting display behind them Haven really do look the part. They ooze confidence and it comes through in the songs.
There is no bad song in the set, it's consistently strong. With a few more songs that really grab you Haven could shake the "New Starsailor/Coldplay/Travis" tag they've been lumbered with. Coming over somewhere between Mansun and the Verve fighting over Thom Yorke's sweater there are some great searing melodies and the dynamics have been carefully thought out and are expertly executed. The songs have a wonderful ebb and flow to them, providing a lush bed on which singer Gary Briggs' voice can rise. This boy can sing and no doubt about it. He has a good range and delivers each verse and chorus with a power and emotion that make the lyrics even more poignant. And that's an interesting point; tonight's crowd is predominantly male. No screaming girlies tonight, despite the fact that all four boys on stage managed to dodge the branches of the ugly tree as they fell to earth. These are guys you'd like to be your mates, they have a swagger about them without being arrogant whilst singing bittersweet tales to soften the hardest of souls. Songs to dance with one arm round your mate and the other round your 4-pack of Stella one night and then with one arm round your girlfriend and the other round your golden retriever, all cuddled up on the sofa at home the next. I'd definitely pick up the album, "Between The Senses", but you just hope that Haven can stretch that extra mile and really push their whole set from being great to blowing you away.
In an ideal world I'd have walked to my left, said something, left the building with the aforementioned young lady to begin a long and lasting friendship, cemented on our way home during a blissful walk through the park, where swans swim silently across the clear blue waters. We'd talk about our past heartaches and how we were scared to commit, there'd be flashback sequences to earlier scenes of us both with friends...me and mine acting in typical boyish fashion... her and hers on a wild girls night out... maybe something with tears and forlorn looks through a rain soaked window... before returning to us at her doorstep. And whilst all this was going on, there'd be Haven playing in the background. Anthemic, emotive, gentle and rising. A band for all occasions... let's hope they can deliver on the promise shown tonight.