Starcrawler – The Haunt, Brighton – 19th June 2018

Photo by Chloe Hashemi

Starcrawler’s Twitter bio simply states, “We will kill you” and last year they told LA Weekly that “They like freaking out their audiences”. Their Haunt show was indicative of both of these things, as lead singer Arrow de Wilde intensely stared down the audience, spewed fake blood everywhere and wildly screamed Starcrawler’s fatal lyrics. On the other hand, though, this show was an example of just how terrific a live band they are. Although only one album in, thus far, Starcrawler have the hits and the eccentricity to pack out an hour set, as well as the musical talent to be dubbed one of the most exciting rock bands in the world right now.

Opening on the night were the incredibly exhilarating Brighton duo Sit Down, off the back of some very impressive local shows around the city. They are an excellent blues-rock outfit, with captivating, intense, Zeppelin-style riffs, and the contrasting interchanging of vocals from operatic to rock and roll. They clearly have a very handy knack for exciting riffs; so much so that many of their songs sound like covers, such is the influential manner and far-reaching capabilities of them. This could be a defining show for the band, and they looked every bit ready to make the next step in their musical journey.

Although not sold out on the night, there was an exceptionally passionate crowd on display. However, it wasn’t until a few songs in when both the band and the audience really seemed to click together. It was with the swift one-two of two minute pocket rocket ‘Ants’ and the euphoric ‘I Love LA’ where the crowd really started to give it some. It was clear, too, that the band love playing off the audience’s momentum. The likes of ‘Let Her Be’ and ‘Pussy Tower’ followed, and it was clear they had the audience in the palm of their hands. For a band of such a young age – having just left school a few months ago – this is an incredibly impressive feat.

Wilde by name wild by nature, lead singer Arrow De Wilde is a magnificent presence at the front of the band. Like a fusion between the bride of Chucky and a Tim Burton character, she’s captivating throughout, however, it’s her unpredictability that provided a killer edge all the way through the performance. With facial expressions that look halfway between wanting to kill you and kiss you, and with her demonic prowling of the stage, the front of the audience didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or abscond in horror. She’s a perfect frontman that truly encapsulates her music in the same way the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper did.

In the encore alone, de Wilde, now covered in fake blood, took a girl’s phone who had invaded the stage and threw it into the audience, she ran, literally, through the moshing crowd and ended up on The Haunt’s bar, crawling across it, chucking everything off as she proceeded. Starcrawler are an absolutely bonkers band, but they feel important and vital, as well as a throwback to the unpredictable heights of 80s American rock and roll. Erratic, exciting, and downright scary at times, Starcrawler are the future of glam-rock. Hey, at least they haven’t kicked a chicken into the crowd, or bitten the head of a bat. Yet.

Liam McMillen