Crook’s Residency At The Echo Was A November Filled With Passion
LOS ANGELES, CA- There is nothing like discovering music by happenstance. Earlier this year, I decided to attend a show at Zebulon by the band Draemings. I was coming from another show in Hollywood, so it was my intention to miss out on the bands opening for Draemings. But when I arrived, I happened to catch the last few songs of a band I would soon learn was named Crook.
Though I only caught a couple of their songs, I literally held my breath for half of what I saw. It was a dramatic performance; a performance drenched with palpable emotions; tangible via the sparse stage production (a set of solitary bulbs on stands), swelling musicality and vulnerable lyricism and voice of the band’s lead singer, Daniel Crook.
Crook had residency throughout the month of November at The Echo, and I decided not to be the last of the music lovers in Los Angeles to learn more about this mysterious (to me) band.
Opening for Crook on this evening was an act that also caught me by surprise: Yung Nak. I came to the venue expecting to step into some atmospheric soundscapes, but kicking off the evening was a hip-hop/trap artist that was more booty shaking (literally … he had someone from the audience come up on stage to shake their bonbons) than mind-melding.
Thought it was a departure of what was anticipated, I can’t deny that I enjoyed the set. Humble and truly grateful for the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd, Yung Nak was hyped from the get-go, even for the relatively small early evening crowd. He even shared his time on stage with a young girl to rap alongside him, and their pairing seemed to be an organic and fun fit.
He spoke briefly about some loss in his life, but insofar as I wasn’t familiar with him or his backstory, it was a bit hard for me to know what he was exactly speaking on. I tried to do a little online sleuthing I don’t know much about Yung Nak (or his young guest) and couldn’t find much (translation= anything) about either of them, so if you’ve got any leads, feel free to let us know so we can link them to this post.
A few weeks earlier, I had the chance to finally catch Kevin perform a live set. To my delight, I got the chance to see them perform again with an opening set on this night.
There isn’t much that I can add to what I had previously said about the last time I saw them perform. Everything that I noted about them for the last time I saw them perform held true. The camaraderie of the players on stage, especially between Kimi Recor and Quincy Larsen, is undeniable and when they segued into their trademark “Is there a Kevin in the audience?” banter and jumped into the audience to get the crowd fully engaged with the restless rocking vibes that they lay down, I surmised this: you will have fun at a Kevin show, so you should just go.
I’ve been high on the music that Drew Murray and Hope Simpson create. Their music as Ever-so-Android, and their live performances under that moniker, have always stirred the adrenaline in my veins, and I was pretty juiced to see what the two had in store at The Echo.
Apparently, they are taking their music in a new direction, and have changed their name form Ever-so-Android to Boy Deluxe. While we’re all waiting anxiously for Drew and Hope to drop some cuts of their new musical vision (which they’ve indicated on their socials that they’ll be dropping in 2020), rest assured that the visceral nature of their live performance hasn’t skipped a beat. In fact, it’s been accentuated.
Hope’s performance is as wild-eyed and fearless as ever, but seeing them with additional players on stage was something that I felted added an extra level of organic tension which I loved. They’ve been performing with a drummer and bassist for gigs throughout 2019, but this is the first time I’ve seen them as such and not as a duo with backing tracks. I absolutely loved it, and I absolutely can’t wait for the new music to come.
By the time Crook took the stage, I was ready to be swathed in a heavy sonic soundscape and to let my soul drift for a bit. With the house lights dimmed low and only the several bulbs positioned around the stage for illumination, Daniel and his bandmates stepped on the stage, warmly greeted by the excited crowd.
There’s something wonderfully unique about this band and their sound. In their bio on Facebook, they openly admit that they pull from influences from across the musical spectrum, which they appropriately describe as a “cinematic fusion of rock and roll and soul”.
More importantly, I think it’s the tender vulnerability than Daniel puts into the music that really gives their sound a calling card. While the huge crescendoes of sound give their music a certain urgency, it’s the silent moments when the guitars are tamed down and it’s Daniel’s tenor voice piercing the sonic veil that really gets the hairs on your neck to stand at attention. I kind of want to compare his vocals to that of Erasure’s Andy Bell. Sharp and clear, but with a definite sense of vulnerability. Obviously, Crook sounds nothing like Erasure, but I can image Daniel singing a fantastic cover, or rendition, of “my heart…. so blue”.’