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Cranes - Jazz Cafe, London, 7/4/2010

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 29 / 4 / 2010

Cranes - Jazz Cafe, London, 7/4/2010


At the London Jazz Cafe, Anthony Strutt watches ethereal group Cranes at a rare gig play a powerful set that incorporates songs from all periods of their career

Cranes remain a thing of beauty for me. They are now often seen to be part of the original shoegaze scene. They were not but they were around at the same time. Tonight Cranes are playing as a five piece, but Ali Shaw is still the main reason most of the people in the audience have come. She is a fragile-looking lady whom is a force of beauty and with the voice of an angel. She looks this evening like she is dressed for all our Christmases in smart clothes and with a white flower in her hair and, although the band is now over twenty years old, doesn't seem to have aged since its earliest days. The only other original member is her brother Jim, who is tucked away by the end of the stage. The set is long, but very enjoyable. The band treat us to a mixture of songs from all periods of their career, but save the best to last. Ali's vocal is throughout the whole set is like the best honey in the world and absolutely perfect, The crowd is largely full of Goths, although the band most definetely are not. They open with ' Cloudless' which is very peaceful and slow. 'Submarine' has a dance pace, and, while not fast paced, has a groove to die for. It is intelligent dream pop of the best order. 'Future Song' is very moody with dark grooves to sway along too. 'Flute Song' follows with no flute involved and is another dark and moody but unique song to get lost into. 'Shining Road' gives Ali a chance to play keyboards which adds to the song, even though she says that she is terrible at playing them. The acoustic guitar as is most of the music on this track very loud and it gets quite grungey which goes down well with the crowd. 'Pale Blue Sky' is more brooding and, with its loud guitars, is gothic in a dark wave manner. This track like a lot of the rest of the music they play tonight sounds like the music used in the French movie, 'Baise-Moi'. 'Reverie' is greeted with cheers and is another track to lose yourself in, It begins with acoustic guitars but becomes much more groove-laden. 'Sunrise' opens with strummed guitar and a twang-based lead. Ali's vocal hangs in the air, lush as it is beautiful, and giving the song the feel of a big Lee Hazlewood number. 'Vanishing Point' is joyful and happy. 'Light Song' is quite heavy on piano, a dreamy number, which is well recieved by the Goth crowd. 'Worlds' is louder, but again dreamy, another song to sway too. 'Wires' too, while moodier, is also loud and dreamy. 'Feathers' has a sweet twang, but with the feel of the Cure whom on various occasions they have played with. 'Everywhere' is massive in sound, again quite Goth in feel and all the better for it. 'Adoration' gets the biggest cheer of the night and closes the main set and is as bleak as anything from The Cure's Pornography. 'Ali' thanks us and asks Jim if he wants to sing and tells us they have played a mixture of tonight, 'Jewel' from their 1993 'Forever' album, which opens the encore, is their most famous song,and Cranes released various versions, the most famous being a Robert Smith mix. Tonight's version is a bass heavy version with heavy shoegaze drums and shines like a diamond. 'Far Away', its with big landscape piano and guitars, gets even bigger cheers. 'Adrift' is much darker and much more Gothic than anything else tonight and gets the crowd real worked up and leaves us all in smiles at the end of what has been a perfect evening.

Picture Gallery:-
Cranes - Jazz Cafe, London, 7/4/2010

Cranes - Jazz Cafe, London, 7/4/2010

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Interview with Alison Shaw (2004)
Cranes - Interview with Alison Shaw
Long-serving shoegazing act the Cranes recently released a new album, 'Particles and Waves'. Frontwoman Alison Shaw speaks to Anthony Strutt about running their own record label, Dadophonic, and their recently renewed relationship with the Cure

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