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  • Crooked Royals - Gig Review: Crooked Royals @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 13/07/2018

Crooked Royals - Gig Review: Crooked Royals @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 13/07/2018

16 Jul 2018 // A review by hailtree

It’s a Friday night, and as I climb up the dark stairwell to the gig room at Ding Dong Lounge in Auckland, I can hear the first band Downfall of Humanity already playing – honestly since when did bands get this organised? I swear a few years ago a show that opened its doors at 8 wouldn’t ever start until after 9. Maybe all my friends were un-organised? Regardless, I dig the punctuality. Downfall of Humanity whip through their set list, their music is tight with electric energy filling the room. “Alright, this is the last one!” frontman Daniel Carleton calls out to the crowd, “unless you guys go crazy and then maybe we’ll do one more!”. This is all the encouragement that everyone needs, as the crowd calls for an encore, and the band are happy to oblige, but not without a quick little jab at the next band, Mudshark.

Up next is Mudshark. The last time I saw Mudshark, the guitarist was wearing jeans – and blamed those for the fact that they encountered quite a few technical difficulties. However, this time around he’s chosen to wear jeans again? Maybe he wants to be comfy? Maybe he just wants to prove that the bad luck isn’t linked to his jeans. “How is everyone tonight? Do we all have booze?” frontman Rory Howard calls out, as the room begins to fill. He recognizes a few familiar faces and throws out a few hello’s. I can’t fault Mudshark’s talent, though I do feel a little let down at the fact that a lot of the banter feels like recycled jokes from the last time I saw them. Though I doubt bassist Nebb is complaining, as he seems to be the main focus of attention yet again, even landing himself a peck on the lips from Crooked Royals frontman Christian.

Third on the stage is Animalhead – a band that I was really excited to see after being super impressed by the bassist Josh’s side project Saints Of Taboo a few weeks earlier. “I got a mic! And a beer!” drummer Dan calls out. I’m quickly impressed at his ability to drum and contribute to the bands vocals, and they warm their way up through a couple of songs. Finally, frontman Campbell takes a few minutes to address the crowd, and lets us all know that it’s Josh’s birthday – cuing up a Happy Birthday from the crowd – which is quickly upstaged by Animalhead’s own little original song, “My name is Josh! My name is Josh! And I play bass! My name is Josh! And I play bass!”. They make their way through the rest of their setlist, with their little song for Josh making several more appearances – and before long the whole crowd is singing it back to them. As they move towards the end of their set, Dan emerges from behind the drums – though not without calling for a couple of tequila shots – and is replaced by Saints of Taboo’s drummer Adam. Dan takes centre stage to take main vocals for a bit, while Campbell is reduced to the wings for a bit. I loved this little change up, as it gave a fresh sound to a band that were already absolutely killing it.

It's finally time for the main act of the night Crooked Royals – and there’s barely space to stand anywhere in the room anymore. I find myself a perch up on one of the couches, as it’s a bit of a struggle to see the band (and find a good spot to actually take photos). Though the crowd is friendly, and happy to move around to let me make my way through whenever I want a new position. They fire through their first song, and an eager audience member clambers up onto a friend’s shoulder in order to get a better view of the band – “Oh look! An 8-foot man!” frontman Christian calls out, before making his way down the stage, and climbing up on someone else’s shoulders. I’m incredibly impressed at how tight the band are, especially considering that they said they haven’t played a show in 9 months. They introduce their new drummer Keane, who I had seen before in Kindred Vice – and he’s definitely an asset to the band – I mean can we talk about how many times he flips his sticks mid song? How does one even get that good at flipping sticks? Mental images of him sitting at home practicing flipping drumsticks quickly flit through my head, though I’m fast brought back to the reality of the show in front of me as Christian calls for a circle pit, “If you guys wanna go run around – you can do it!”. This little bit of encouragement is all that is needed, and before I know it there's people stage diving and dancing all over the place. Oh, and a whole lot of hugging. Seriously - there are so many hugs happening between crowd members during this show? It's one of the most wholesome things I've ever seen at a gig. They finish their set, playing out their latest EP, and the crowd roars for an encore – “I don’t think we have another song? But we can do a cover!” And as fast as it all began; the night is over.

Crooked Royals are definitely one to look out for, and I’d absolutely recommend downloading their EP Intertwine for a little spin. I’ve already got it saved into a couple of my daily playlists, and I’m excited to see more from the band. I asked Christian if he had a couple of words to convince you guys to give it a listen – “Just trust yourself.”


Review written by Amanda Hailwood
Photo provided by Amanda Hailwood

 

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