Photos Copyright © Arusha Baker 2002

May 14th, 2002 Tuesday
San Francisco, CA

to be
shining road
future song
flute song

angel bell
far away

driving in the sun
paris and rome

Review by Patrick Foley

OK, where to start? I've been an avid Cranes listener ever since they opened for the Cure's "Wish" tour waaay back in 1992. I immediately picked up "Wings of Joy" after the show and have been watching the band evolve over the years. How do you describe their sound? Ethereal & haunting, simple & complex, all occurring simultaneously. Many critics have tried to pigeonhole them into a certain category of music, but they always seem to overcome any sort of label put on them. Gothic, alternative, shoe-gazer rock - call it what you will, they will defy any and all characterizations.

That being said, I came to Slim's in San Francisco with the full intention of being blown away. The venue itself is located in a warehouse district right off of the highway, so getting there was no problem. It's a medium sized club, with plenty of space on stage for the bands.

The opening band, For Stars, came on shortly after 9. They received a warm reception from their hometown and proceeded to play for about 35-40 minutes. Their sound is just as eclectic as the Cranes, so all in all, a worthy performance from an up and coming band.

I was surprised at the response to the opener, "Cloudless", since it's not on the new CD and almost 10 years old. Even though it was the first song and everyone was waiting for them to appear, I saw people singing along with Alison. It just goes to show that there were long time listeners in the audience. I was expecting them to play "Future Song" or any of the other new ones first, but the crowd (and me) did not seem to mind. As with their new CD, the set was way more relaxed than their previous efforts (not that I'm complaining). Standouts included "Lilies" (which always rocks) and "Flute Song", from the new disc.

The set list was pretty much the same as the May 4th Galaxy show. It was definitely a good mix of all of their albums, with no one album dominating the set. I agree with other reviews that the new song "Fragile" sounded phenomenal live. What more could a Cranes fan ask for? Maybe "Starblood", but I digress. The encore was "Driving in the Sun" and "Paris & Rome". It was nice to see Alison pick up a guitar for "Driving", since she didn't play anything during the whole set. It was kind of strange because I always remember her playing bass through past shows.

In closing, I would like to make a plea to the band and not wait 4 years for another album (yeah, I know there was a label change)! Also, try and get on a soundtrack or similar compilation (more mainstream than 12 Tales, if possible) to get the exposure you deserve. And to the audience - you know this show kicked some ass and remember to go to more! Just like Slim's website says, "If you ignore your favorite bands, they will go away."

Review by Patrick Foley

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