@ Newcastle Hyem, November 25 2010

It was the first sign of winter as the snow fell and the ice settled on a bitter and cold night in Newcastle.  But this is not a weather report. Definitely better than having Jack Frost visiting is having melodic rock n rollers, The Crave headlining the stage at Hyem bar.

Velvet Star opened with a courageous effort given that they were lacking working monitors and a rhythm guitarist for the evening.  A distorted sound greeted the audience from the stage but the songs led the way and overcame the battle with the frosty audience with their infectious and catchy hooks. Full of youthful potential they perform Ego with the strutting highly sexed attitude we’ve come to expect from this bunch of young enthusiastic rockers.

Local band Riff X are currently gigging hard and as a result have endlessly improved in the few months.  However tonight in Newcastle the dynamic Pink-esque Brigitta Balogh belted out songs with high energy in complete contrast to the rest of the band – who she seemed to be carrying.  Their sombre demeanour meant that tonight (and hopefully tonight only!) they lacked the cohesive glue that the other acts of the evening seemed to possess.

The Crave have been gracing larger stages as support to legends Status Quo but tonight they’re the ones setting the quo in a blinder of a performance. Tight and focused, they raised the bar as if playing to a crowd of a thousand rather than discreet handful of those who had successfully battled the snow.

Playing with the perfect cocktail of melody and sleaze they appeal to a diverse range of tastes.  They burst onto the stage with the rousing Set Me Free whilst visually packing a punch as they riotously throw rock poses like they’re going out of fashion.

This may sound staged but it isn’t – full of natural charisma each member of the band is perfecting the moves, the bouncing bassist Tom delivered silky smooth backing vocals to a backdrop brimming with metal attitude. Twirling drumsticks and flailing dreadlocks came courtesy of drummer CJ.

And guitarist Carlos surely holds the record for most women swooning in his direction as he perfects the rock strut and pout. Effortless talent poured out of every fingered fret as he gave a slick performance full of sweet sounding guitar licks – especially evident in Cooking In The Kitchen and Mercenary Man.

The camaraderie of a band that has spent years touring together was evident on stage as singer and rhythm guitarist Ryan duelled it out with Carlos in a break it down to build em up fashion resulting in a rapturously welcomed cover of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way.  The title track from the album Breaking The Silence – a band biography of sorts – was musically moving whilst Something Beautiful held a funky and clean breakdown that has inherent foot tapping tendencies.

Feeder-esque sounding High showcased Ryan as an outstanding vocalist – clearly proving The Crave can do ballads and the heavy without needing to align themselves to the sub-culture genre specifications so popular in today’s world.  Melodic and full of energy, this lot are a big band on a small stage.  Anthemic arena rock – The Crave tick the box.

Louisa Kouzapas