Image: Patsy Barker via The Boar

Crawlers bring unlimited energy to Birmingham’s O2 Institute

O2 Institute Birmingham, 6th March 2024

The O2 Institute in Birmingham is filled with chatter and excitement as a sea of black leather jackets filters into the venue. A sense of camaraderie is certainly clear as the crowd passes cups of water to each other and sings along to the pre-show playlist. The audience waits patiently for Mother Mother to take the stage, however, before this, we are greeted with an incredible opening act: Liverpool four-piece Crawlers.

Liverpool-based Crawlers began releasing music in 2018 but gained prominence at the tail-end of 2021 thanks to the success of the single ‘Come Over (Again)’ on social media. 2024 has gone off with a bang for the alt-rock quartet, with the release of their debut album, The Mess We Seem To Make, gaining critical acclaim from publications NME and Rolling Stone, and the announcement that they will be taking to the main stage at Reading and Leeds later this year. Opening for Mother Mother is just another feather in Crawlers’ cap.

Holly Minto bursts onto the stage singing one of the quartet’s releases from 2022 ‘I Don’t Want It’

As a remixed version of the Wii theme song transitions into Icona Pop and Charli XCX’s 2013 hit ‘I Love It’, an expertly chosen warm-up song as the chorus perfectly encapsulates Crawlers’ ethos of staying to yourself despite what others may say or think, the buzz of the crowd ripples off the walls. Suddenly, the lights dim, and Harry Breen’s drumbeats vibrate through the floor. Lead singer Holly Minto bursts onto the stage singing one of the quartet’s releases from 2022 ‘I Don’t Want It’.

As they jump around each corner of the stage, interacting with the crowd and bassist Liv May, and guitarist Amy Woodall, it is evident that Minto has the stage presence of a seasoned performer. The Institute turns blue as the lights change and the band breaks into their second song ‘Hit It Again’. Minto holds the microphone into the crowd, inviting us to sing along to the refrain, “Hit it again, again, again.”

Minto is met with a loud cheer as they question, “We are Crawlers. Has anyone heard of us?”. “Only three of you,” they joke in response to the screaming excitement of the fans before breaking into ‘Messiah’, a single released in June last year.

As Minto dances around the stage, it is impossible for Crawlers to lose the crowd’s focus. They even invite the audience to participate in the set: during ‘Better If I Just Pretend’, Minto requests that the fans get down on the ground and jump up as the chorus hits.

They are met with the entirety of the O2 Institute’s pit singing back the chorus

In a recent interview with The Boar, Crawlers’ guitarist Amy Woodall acknowledged how the quartet compose songs that allow their listeners to relate to their music, and this translates into their gigs as well, as the band ask the audience to reflect on a time when it has been difficult to continue being kind to some: “It really just kills you to be kind, Birmingham,” Minto asserts before breaking into ‘It Kills Me To Be Kind’. As the first beats of ‘I End Up Alone’ start to play, Minto calls for the crowd to let out their loudest scream and release all our emotions. The connection that the four-piece has with the crowd is unmatched, as Minto dances around the stage, one could be convinced that this is a Crawlers’ headline show.

Leading up to their final song of the set, Minto declares, “You might know this one”. The opening chords of TikTok sensation ‘Come Over (Again)’ break out and it receives the loudest cheer of the set so far. With over 50 million streams on Spotify, if people in the audience did not recognise any of the previous songs on the setlist, this song is certainly known by the crowd. As Minto holds the microphone out into the crowd, they are met with the entirety of the O2 Institute’s pit singing back the chorus without missing a beat: “Take her name out of your mouth / you don’t deserve to mourn”. The refrain is even written over Minto’s dress, which is significant considering that these are the lyrics that helped many of Crawlers’ avid fans discover the band. As the song comes to an end, and the four-piece begin to exit the stage, Minto replicated the heart signs that the crowd were throwing into the air, shouting, “Thank you Birmingham, you are beautiful.”

Crawlers’ experience playing intimate gigs, and supporting My Chemical Romance and YUNGBLUD, has certainly served the quartet well as they have honed the skill of performance perfectly. With Minto’s impeccable stage presence, Crawlers know how to hold a crowd’s attention. I, for one, am excited to see how they progress further as performers.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.