Gig Reviews

Wine Press, Littleborough
5 August 2006

Crimson Scarlet took a break from recording to play at the Wine Press in Littleborough.

The audience clearly enjoyed the music, people in the restaurant downstairs were also appreciative, some venturing upstairs to watch, and getting a drink at the bar wasn't easy with the staff also engrossed!

The hour long set began with the blues rock number Paranoia, quickly followed by the foot tapper Oxygen.

In classic Crimson style the mood was then slowed as they played the title track from their last CD, Pirouette, before changing the mood again with Still You Let Me In.

Richard Harper's hard work since taking on vocals earlier this year showed and it is clear the four band members are very comfortable with each other. The tightness of their play belied the lack of full band practice in the weeks prior to the gig with drummer Pete Smith driving back from Plymouth the night before and guitarist John Butterworth completing an eight hour drive back from Cornwall less than two hours before he was due at the Wine Press for the sound check!

I'm Lost was next in the set, and the melancholic almost classical feel of the song shows Crimson's ability to stray from their comfort zone. However, as they like the mood to ebb and flow another upbeat number is never far away and Miss Lane followed before the latest Crimson Scarlet song got its first public airing, Yes Baby, a laid back jazz influenced song.

With the set coming to its climax, Crimson showed their versatility and their willingness to be different when they played an unplugged acoustic version (two guitars and a tambourine) of their ballad, Paradise Girl.

The last song of the set, as has become customary at Crimson Scarlet gigs, was Tears Began To Bleed, and what a superb rendition this was. Right from the intro with Malcolm Journeaux's pounding bass lines pulsing insistently and Pete Smith's rhythmic thumping on drums, the solid blues beat gave the perfect platform for John Butterworth to dance over the top of on lead guitar. Richard Harper's choice of a Hammond organ voice on keyboard hammers home the classic blues feel of this excellent song.

Quite unusually for Crimson Scarlet they indulged themselves with a little showboating when Journeaux and Butterworth swapped instruments during the song; Butterworth taking over on bass and allowing Journeaux to show his love of the blues to end the set with a superb five minute guitar solo!

This was undoubtedly the best from Crimson for some time and they were visibly more relaxed than at previous gigs, and that was evident in the quality of their playing.

Kirsty Rigg