Friday, April 28, 2017

Sweet Crude at the Mercury Lounge

Sam Craft & Alexis Marceaux
In New Orleans, Louisiana, brothers Sam Craft (lead vocals, violin, additional percussion) and Jack Craft (keyboards, vocals) led a band called Glasgow that in its final incarnation included John Arceneaux (drums) and Alexis Marceaux (lead vocals, additional percussion). Alexis and Sam also played in another band, Alexis & the Samurai, with bassist Stephen McDonald (bass) and Skylar Stroup (keyboard, trumpet, vocals). The six formed an indie mega-band in 2013, and later recruited Dave Shirley (drums). Consistent with a desire to remain true to their origins, they selected the name Sweet Crude, acknowledging the oil-rich Gulf Coast, and chose to sing both in English and in the local Cajun French dialect. Sweet Crude released its debut album, Créatures, on April 21, 2017.

Sweet Crude headlined the Mercury Lounge tonight, and proved to be a unique-sounding party band. Sam Craft and Alexis Marceaux led most of the vocals, but there could be as many as five band members shouting in unison as the songs reached their peaks. Adhering to a strict "no guitars" policy, Sweet Crude was driven by cascades of voices, keyboards, bass, and oodles of percussion instruments at strategic apexes. Tribal rhythms abounded, such that the Franglish chants became additional percussion, even as they injected playful "na na-nas." Drawing from the breath of New Orleans' soul, but decidedly not Cajun, zydeco or dixieland-based, Sweet Crude sounded like a marching band that discovered bouncy bilingual parade-pop. Sweet Crude is a band of party-starters with a penchant for keeping it Creole.

Visit Sweet Crude at