Crocodiles at the Entry, 2/28/12

Crocodiles.jpg
Photo by Eric Pasi
Crocodiles
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
February 28, 2012


San Diego's Crocodiles probably picked the least Californian night to roll through Minneapolis, as the strange snow/sleet/rain mix had even the locals in a rather vexing mood. And while the inclement weather perhaps had something to do with the light turnout for Crocodiles 7th St. Entry performance, the quintet still brought plenty of the moody, sonic discord during their 45-minute set that caused all of us to brave the harsh conditions to come down to the show in the first place.

Crocodiles have a new record coming out on June 5th called Endless Flowers, and they did a nice job blending a few of those current tracks in alongside their more potent, classic numbers, frequently alternating between an older song and a new one throughout the set. But the band played only 10 songs during their rapid fire performance, which made the show feel a bit like an opening slot for a headliner that never came.

The set opened with the group bathed in blood red lighting, easing their way into the sprawling majesty of "Mirrors," which built slowly towards its fervent, dynamic conclusion. The band kept the momentum going with their first new song of the night, "Electric Death Song," which was rousing and enjoyable, but didn't quite live up to its foreboding name. Perhaps when their fans become more familiar with the track it will have a bigger impact during the performance, but on this occasion it just seemed like a bridge between "Mirrors" and "Hearts Of Love," which absolutely soared and was a clear highlight of the performance.

Another new song followed, a while it was decent, it paled in comparison with "Stoned to Death," which featured a smooth, psychedelic rhythm and melody. Frontman Brandon Welchez seemed to really lose himself within the song, dancing around the stage while guitarist Charles Rowell generated a discordant squall that only added to the track's hazy quality. Their new single, "Sunday (Psychedelic Conversation #9)" quickly followed, and had a biting edge to it that is lacking a bit on the recorded version.

The rapid-fire main set drew to a close with the potent combination of "I Wanna Kill" and "Sleep Forever," as both songs filled the room with bold, strident sounds which perfectly exemplified the dynamic, crushing force of Crocodiles. The band stepped off stage for the briefest of moments, before coming back out to slay us all once again with "Summer Of Hate," which ended with both Welchez and Rowell fitfully wailing away on their guitars as a wall of feedback and fury washed over the crowd.

The band finished off their whirlwind performance with a truly surprising cover of Deee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart," which traded in the soulful funk of the original for a more raucous, guitar-driven take on the club staple. The emphatic cover morphed into strains of the Beach Boys "California Girls" while the song drew riotously to a close, as the band was perhaps playfully mocking all of us who had to fight our way through the slush on our way home. 

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I have seen Crocodiles serve as the opening act on three different occasions, and was excited to finally see them headline. But the performance had a rushed, unfinished feel of another opening set.

The Crowd: A bit sparse, but considering the weather and the fact it was a Tuesday night, it was all in all a decent turnout.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Now THOSE are some skinny jeans" -- in reference to Brandon Welchez.

Random Notebook Dump: I've seen Crocodiles perform as a duo, a quartet, and now a quintet the last two times they have played here. Welchez and Rowell seemed to have settled into a regular supporting band now, as bassist Marco Gonzalez, drummer Anna Schulte, and keyboardist Robin Eisenberg all played with them on Endless Flowers, and confidently backed the duo during the set.

Setlist:

Mirrors

Electric Death Song (New)

Hearts Of Love

New Song

Stoned To Death

Sunday (Psychedelic Conversation #9)(New)

I Wanna Kill

Sleep Forever

Summer Of Hate (Encore)

Groove Is In The Heart (Deee-Lite)/California Girls (the Beach Boys)(Encore)



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