REVIEW: Andy Crofts delivers a melodic masterclass on his Northampton homecoming

Andy Crofts played two sold-out acoustic shows at The Playhouse Theatre in Northampton over the weekend (Pictures David Jackson)
Andy Crofts played two sold-out acoustic shows at The Playhouse Theatre in Northampton over the weekend (Pictures David Jackson)

An intimate, insightful, showcase of musicianship.

It was a rare pleasure to have Andy Crofts play an intimate acoustic set in his hometown of Northampton, where many of his songs were first written.

The frontman of The Moons and bass player and vocalist for Paul Weller’s live band, came back to his roots to play an acoustic gig in the intimate setting of the Playhouse Theatre on Clare Street, a few doors down from where he once lived.

Fresh from recording The Moons’ new album in London’s Abbey Road Studio, Sunday's show was Andy Crofts’ second sell-out gig in Northampton and part of a mini tour of his 14 track acoustic set.

He was supported by indie-folk Northampton singer-songwriter Amii Dawes who delivered a heart-warming set, warming the crowd up.

Used to playing at hundreds of gigs in some iconic venues, Crofts revealed how wanted to play a stripped down no frills version of some of his most iconic songs and new material,

Andy Crofts told fans the stories behind some of his songs at The Playhouse Theatre

Andy Crofts told fans the stories behind some of his songs at The Playhouse Theatre

“I’ve been looked after in Paul Weller’s world,” he told the audience. “As a musician I needed to go back to how I started songwriting in Northampton and prove to myself I can deliver music in its rawest form.”

The set consisted of hits from previous Moons’ albums, mixed in with some brand new songs from the band’s soon-to-be released album as well as a couple of covers.

Crofts’ talents really came to the fore in this acoustic gig.

The strength and quality of his songwriting resonated throughout, as did the quality of the his musicianship.

Andy Crofts

Andy Crofts

Crofts’ husky style vocal blended beautifully with his masterful guitar-playing achieving some spell-binding moments in the hushed auditorium.

He kicked off the gig with the crowd favourite Revolutionary Lovers, and personal highlights of the set also included Chinese Whispers from the album Life on Earth, Wondering and English Summer.

Crofts connected musically with his audience and took them with him on his journey through some of his most influential indie style soulful material.

The gig was punctuated with humour as he also revealed how some of his songs were originally written in and around Northampton.

Andy Crofts was joined on stage for a few numbers by his Moons band-mate Chris Watson

Andy Crofts was joined on stage for a few numbers by his Moons band-mate Chris Watson

The Old Brigade from The Moons' forthcoming album, was not only a melodic masterclass, it was also surprisingly based on a shop in Northampton which sold military style paraphernalia.

Andy explained how he twisted the meaning to refer to himself as child growing up with a gang of friends playing out on the streets of Kingsthorpe, 'the old brigade...'

“I first wrote Wondering when I was 16 years old and sat on my doorstep locked out of my house in Kingsthorpe,” he revealed.

“Little did I know then that 20 years later I was to finish it off in a studio in Abbey Road and Paul Weller was to play the piano on it.”

You can tell each song is thoughtfully written – no fillers.

Another highlight of the night was when he was joined on stage by fellow Moons’ band mate Chris Watson to play the last three songs of the set including English Summer and Something Soon - their plucky guitar rifts and vocals blended beautifully.

Amii Dawes played the support slot on Sunday

Amii Dawes played the support slot on Sunday

The gig finished all too soon with covers of Bowie’s Starman and The Beach Boys' God Only Knows with the crowd left wanting more.

“It means a lot to play in my hometown - it’s been a pleasure to be home,” said Andy.

It was a pleasure to have seen this performance.

Setlist: Revolutionary Lovers; Chinese Whispers; The Old Brigade; Can You See Me; Just Wondering; I’m A Loser; Promise Not To Tell; Jennifer Sits Alone; Moon River; Sleep Today; How Long; English Summer; Something Soon; Star Man; God Only Knows