Crazy Arm at Leeds 2010
Sunday afternoon, after what was for many, two to three solid days drinking and eating only fast food before shivering to sleep each night. Everyone was needing a few words of encouragement, a boost of energy, a flash of positivity. Something to get your blood pumping, your hands clapping, your feet tapping. A clip round the ear by something fantastic. Crazy Arm kindly obliged to all of the above. Thankyou, Crazy Arm.
If you listen to their debut record sat in your jim jams in the comfort of your own home, you can tell that this is a band with something really exceptional about them. Their mish-mashing of genres into the most rock n' roll patchwork quilt you ever did see is really rather remarkable. Roll up, roll up punk-rock, post-hardcore and even that little dash of country over there. It takes a lot of energy to smash this lot together into a blend that works. And this energy is something so incredible in a live set from Crazy Arm, that it has the power to melt your face off. Figuratively, obviously. They are anything but acidic.
Their show on the Lock Up stage went at a million miles an hour like one of them really good cars you see swooned over on 'Top Gear'. But collectively, they oozed something a million times more masculine than dear old Clarkson. These gentlemen have fully tamed the beast that is rock and have made it their bitch. Tracks like 'Broken By The Wheel' perfectly illustrate this. The full command required for such a gutsy and powerfully driven anthem, with its galloping drum beat and creative breakdowns, is immense. The fast-paced, country-flavoured wild fret scaling in the trademark Crazy Arm sound is utterly delicious live.
'Asphalt' slowed the manic speed down a little, the performance being something of a wonderful enveloping growl in musical form. Vocalist Darren Johns has a sublime voice with that husky, gravelly quality that defines what rock and roll is supposed to project. He really went at it full pelt with 'Blind Summit', chucking his voice out there with such blinding intensity it would have been rude for the crowd to not partake in some movement of sorts. 'Still To Keep' seemed to be the song that they were waiting for, and it is not surprising. It's an irresistibly good song. Once again, those crashing tides of furious drumming and dazzling guitar riffs wash over the entire audience, but the rich warmth and catchy choruses of this particular number make it a real stand-out track live.
Utterly stunning, Crazy Arm gave a truly blazing performance of material from album 'Born To Ruin' and really brought it to life on that stage.