HYPE CHECK: Crocodiles Push Play for “Unplugged” Performance at Bowery Ballroom

Words and Photos by Aaron Richter

Album: Summer of Hate (Fat Possum)

What’s Been Said: “The duo is one of our favorite new bands because they write super songs, not because I’m obsessed with Darklands: It’s one thing to own a good set of influences, another thing entirely turning them into a kick-ass collection like Summer Of Hate.” – Stereogum

“Another duo mining the depths of Jesus and Mary Chain style noise rock, San Diego’s Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez have made the Nouns of 2009.” – Stark Online

“Stylish wall of throb.” – New York Times‘ four-word review

Our Take: Thank god for mirrors. These guys have their swagger down solid and sell it well with Welchez playing the sunglasses-at-night role of rock messiah, or the second coming of Lou Reed. Dripping in coke sweats and hocking dry-mouth loogies all over the stage, Welchez and Rowell played along with recorded instrumentals that seemed to include everything sans vocals. Even the live guitars sounded dubious–at times, barely audible beneath the accompanying track. How much were they actually doing aside from looking cool as shit? It was difficult to tell. Though early in the set, Rowell’s guitar came unplugged, and it took him nearly a full song and the help of someone in the audience to realize that he’d lost amplification. But then again, playing with your instruments plugged in is, like, so 2008. And not like it mattered, really, because the song sounded just fine without him. Who needs band members when you’ve got CDs to play?

Hypeworthy? Hmm… Let’s say yes. Even with a pre-recorded stage show, Crocodiles’ songs take on heightened power live. After all, volume is the band’s best friend. And hearing “I Wanna Kill” cranked to 11 is fucking fantastic.