The south is at it again! This time the musical goodness comes from Louisiana and it is full of life. Hard on the road after the successful release of their April release, ‘Créatures’, Sweet Crude are musicians to enjoy with every fiber of a listener’s being. Described as explorers of the drum-pop genre, the crew can bang it out with skill utilizing a combination of English and Louisiana’s native French dialect to decidedly non-Cajun styles. The band consists of musicians: Jack Craft, Sam Craft, Stephen MacDonald, Alexis Marceaux, Dave Shirley and Skyler Stroup. Together, these talented folks bring about a unique and explosive sound that is only matched by their musical prowess. Sam Craft went on to delve into the whole journey and their whirlwind of an art form.
One of the key tracks off of ‘Creatures’ is the tune Mos Esprit. Sam gave his take on the song. “…The song was written with Alexis’ voice in mind. It’s a ‘torch song’ of sorts. One in which the character she plays mourns the unraveling of her life but ultimately finds redemption in her own voice, her own agency. It’s bittersweet and a powerful moment of feminism on the record.”
Musically, experimentation continues to grow in their act. “We want to keep bringing drama and a bit of theater into the music. Tapping into all our voices and diverse instrumentation, we are looking to shake up our typical song formula and bring some more dynamism to our performances.”
Key pieces of their discography are easy to come by. “The aforementioned Mon Esprit is a highlight for us, for sure. We are also proud of our revamping of the Cajun music staple Parlez-nous à boire from our first EP ‘Super Vilaine’. We put in a hip-hop beat and some fun production.”
As far as shows go, their current tour is a celebration in itself. “We have been having a blast touring with our friends Tank & the Bangas, also from New Orleans. I think an ideal performance would be playing with them at a European festival somewhere. It’s been a dream to take this bill overseas.”
It is not always easy for the sextet. “The most difficult performance happened at a festival in Louisiana when our van broke down over a huge swamp and we had to get rescued. I think we were able to play the last 15 minutes of our time slot. It was an epic 15 minutes though.”
Within the music world, Sweet Crude is enjoying the adventure. “It’s a Wild West of sorts. You can make things up as you go along, which is at once exciting and scary. We’re no longer dependent on radio or television to spread the word. There are some rubrics to success and models one should follow, but ultimately, the open playing field of the Internet encourages innovation. Bilingual, Louisiana indie pop is doing just fine!”
Time waits for no man or woman in music. “We’re on our way to check out a gigantic flea mall in Charlotte, NC before heading up to Carrboro to play at Cat’s Cradle. We’re [also] working on a new album! We are going to be spending the winter in New Orleans writing and recording. We can’t wait to show the world the weird stuff coming out of our brains.”
From there, their show in New York City was a special one. Friday in the middle of September is always a wild night right off the bat. At Le Poisson Rouge, it was no exception. There was already a line out front behind the ropes for fans eager to see the band and the headliner of the evening, Tank and the Bangas. After going through the rigorous security search, listeners were greeted to a giant fish tank in the lobby. After that, folks were guided downstairs via the red glare that illuminated the way to the concert hall. Both of the band’s amazing merchandise were the first items to welcome guests into the fray. The concert floor was huge dark space filled with a jazzy lounge mix in back for food and drinks. For the general fans, a long sidebar sated their thirst with much satisfaction. A vibrant and relaxed glow swirled on the ground and loud chatter filled the space. For the stage set up, a wide variety of instruments were displayed, most noticeably the three sets of drums. Two of those sets were front and center ready for some fun. It was a giant corner stage ready for action. Sweet Crude came out silently with sudden cheers from the crowd. Almost immediately, the band started with a cacophony of sounds.
A sublime show of side step dancing took things off via Alexis and Sam. From its inception it was romantic rock with an intense flamenco passion. With the shared drumming experience, the six piece was alive with pure spirit. Listeners felt an exotic heartbeat of sounds that never dissipated. On top of that, each of the rocking musicians were all aglow in soulful color. Sweet Crude’s music was fueled by their optimistic vibes and complimentary dancing. Slight twinkles and thumps kept the listener involved and eager for more. Their harmonic vocals soared with vibrating power. Tambourines and drums mixed with vocals were an added treat for the ears. Every member of the crowd swayed in their spot as Sweet Crude were all smiles up on stage. They were successful with lots of banter with crowd to keep that energy in check. Sam even brought out the violin to add onto the ensemble of instruments in their arsenal. At one point their music took a turn into a Flamenco jazz-rock flow.
Alexis was the master of powerful yells and shouts that were equally lovely. Listeners could absorb her depth and resonate deeply with her lyrics. The rhythm caught the fans and their set continued to be the epitome of extreme passion. More impressive than their sound was their intricate synchronization. Between each song lay solid transitions into the next. Sweet Crude were obviously comfortable in their element on stage. They shared vocals that were met with tons of cheers from the fans in the audience. Their animated bits alongside their dances added a sense of pulsing flair. Case in point, Alexis’ glasses flew off in a sudden seizure of frantic dancing. She kept going with true professionalism! Her stage presence was captivating. Musically, their intensity never stopped. When they got low, their folksy taste came through. Naturally, the fire came after. It was nice to hear instrumental changes with the keys, organs and beyond. To end it off nicely, their rendition of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac took their show to new respected heights. What a performance!
Give a listen and a watch to Mos Esprit below:
See their tour dates below to catch these folks in action:
09/19 – Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall ^
09/20 – Detroit, MI @ El Club ^
09/21 – Cincinnati, OH @ Ballroom at Taft Theatre ^
09/22 – Columbia, MO @ Rose Music Hall ^
09/23 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar ^
09/25 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall ^
09/26 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge ^
10/01 – Portland, OR @ Star Theatre ^
10/03 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel ^
10/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom ^
10/06 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar ^
10/14 – Lafayette, LA @ Blue Moon Saloon
^ Tank and the Bangas