vrijdag 3 oktober 2014

Small Time Crooks live: Ekko, Utrecht 02-10-2014

Photo, Wo.
Always a surprise when a band that is unbeknown to me plays a surprisingly good set. Small Time Crooks opened for The Hackensaw Boys and set the mood in a perfect way. There are some major differences though. The starting point of both may be that American style of music called bluegrass, with acoustic instruments and multi-layered vocals, the way both bands approach the style in the end is different. Where the similarity is the often fast-paced playing, the main difference is the stomp that goes into the Small Time Crooks' music. Almost every song is kicked in the ass in a severe way, making it rock out, despite the old fashioned percussion and acoustic guitars and stand-up bass. Also the style of Pokey LaFarge, so slightly more jazzy, is a part of the repertoire of Small Time Crooks. Where LaFarge and co recreate music of times long gone by, again this The Hague band, which the whole evening stated to be from Staphorst, the midst of the midst of the Dutch bible belt, jolts its songs full on in the solar plexus, leaving the audience gasping for air at times.

Schorsch. Photo Wo.
So if we leave the difference in tattoos behind us Small Time Crooks is a very different band. The promise the band gives on its website: "Small Time Crooks is a band of raucous, hot retro swing, is fast becoming an underground sensation", is totally fulfilled. Yes, there were some minor mistakes and the lead singing at times is a bit too rough to suit the song, but together the band is an oiled, greasy steam engine that just rolls on, while the harmonies are pretty impeccable.

An old Dutch song goes that "all who want to sail as pirates, have to be bearded men'. Add some tattoos, an earring or two and a piercing here and there on the side and this band has a new motto, besides qualifying for 100% to sail. It seems like Zwalfred Hollsteiner, Schorsch Heimlich, Karl Not Marx and Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirz have their act together. Fun band, good quality and songs that stand up.


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