6 February 1997, Wedgewood rooms, Portsmouth

Review by Simon Williams

Not being a native Pompey lad, a Cranes gig was going to be a new experience. The question on my lips was whether or not their superb recorded sound could be equaled live. Support for this gig came from two local bands. First on was 'Tony' and I'm afraid to say that they were the kind of middle of the road indie band that we've seen all too many times before. It couldn't even be said that they were good at what they did, because quite frankly they weren't. Next up were 'Screeper', a strange band with a blend of styles from indie to dance but which unfortunately rarely worked. A rumor was flying around that a scout from Sony was present, come to check out this band. However they were quite disappointing, I could have easily have been at home listening to a C.D. as so much of their sound was produced by computer. Oh and they had a bloke who can only be described as a Bez (ala. Happy Mondays) who pranced around and acted like a twat.

The Wedgewood Rooms is a relatively small place and by the start of Cranes set the place was packed. Not surprising as this was their first gig in their home town for a long time. The crowded house was going to prove to be unsurprising as the band were absolutely excellent. A nice range of songs were played, a lot of material off their recently released album 'Population Four'. But also there were some of their classic tracks including: 'Jewel', 'Adrift' and 'Far Away' to name a few. The reshuffling in the band does seem to have been successful. Jim Shaw did well on guitar and the new drummer, Manu Ros, kept up the old standard. Alison's vocals were impeccable, her delicate voice reaching out with it's girlish sweetness. But for me the real star on the night was Mark, bounds of enthusiasm and movement. He was giving it 200%. Top marks to that man. All in all, it was one of the best gigs I've been to in ages. Shame about the support but should you get the chance to see them live, then I highly recommend it.

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