Photos Copyright ©Mike Dare 2002
More photos coming soon.
April 26th, 2002 Friday
Philadelphia, PA - North Star
Review by Mike Dare
Philadelphia PA - The third stop of the tour. Had a good feeling this was going to be a good show. Word is the Boston show the night before went really well, and Jim was still buzzing on a high from the gig. Or as he put it, "I wouldn't trade in the experience we had last night for 10 Jon Spencers......and Cristina Martinez." Background info - the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion played in DC the night after the Cranes gig, which Jim was bummed about missing. As some of you may know, Bosshog (Jon Spencer/Cristina Martinez) is one of his favorite bands.
From the outside, the North Star club looks pretty damn sketchy. Scenes from National Lampoon's Vacation once again ran through my head as I was drove towards the club. But once inside, things were pretty cool. Very small boxy little stage with a high ceiling and balcony. You'll get a good view pretty much anywhere you stand.
The one thing, though, I did find very uncool was that the club had a very strict 21 and up admission policy. I saw 3 fans who were not let admission because they were under age. Even after Ali and Jim specifically asked the club to let them in, they still wouldn't budge. But at least for consolation, they got to get their pictures taken with all the band members and got autographs and such before having to go home.
As for the show...new opening act for tonight. Michael J. Sheehey, former frontman of the Dream City Film Club. His first time ever in the US, and he seemed to please the crowd with his bluesy country-ish acoustic songs. A very funny guy too - in a dry sort of way. In between songs he'd always give a few comments on the next song. For example, "And now to lighten the mood for the evening, here's a song about.....death." Not bad for his first gig in the US. A lot of people lined up after his set to buy copies of his cd. And for those interested - there is a track on the upcoming Michael J. Sheehey album with vocals from Alison Shaw due to be released this September.
Only about 100 people in attendance for the tonight's gig, but being a such a small club, it filled up nicely by time Cranes hit the stage. Cool atmosphere tonight. It didn't feel so much like a concert - but more like a private party. Lots of space on the floor for people to move around, with very little pushing and shoving. The sound was very clean too (much better than the DC gig). With such a small venue, a lot the drums didn't even need mics. I imagine the sound for the evening would be similar to if the band played in your living room.
The set was the same as the DC show, except they added "Driving in the Sun" in the encore. I guess they don't play this one that much. Jim totally lost his place in the guitar solo causing the song to come to almost a complete stop, but luckily Jon was able to keep the rhythm going on drums to pick everything back up swiftly. But the atmosphere was so casual tonight, nobody seemed to have minded. Everybody got a good laugh at it.
No need for details of every song this time, so I'll end by just saying it was a good gig. A laid back, intimate performance. Just one advantage of liking band that hasn't hit the big time yet.
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