our band currently has gigs booked and i need an amp fast, for a practice i've been using a crate half stack which has given a nice crunchy tone, i also use a fender strat and we play mainly rock/punk music, like against me/polar bear club/hot water music, any advice? i'm pretty much new to amps so take it easy on me
it's not mine, its the studio where we rehearse's, so i need to buy one, my budget is 400-450
If your in a real bind and want a stack real quick, check out a Peavey Windsor. If you don't mind a stack or combo i'd tell you to get a Line 6 Spider III combo, 150 watt or 120 watt.
If you can manage $500, you can get the (really rather good) Kustom Defender:

A good offer if you just want a cheap temporary amp, 18W all-valve for $150:


Not by any means a great amp, but for the price it's ideal as a stop-gap gigging amp until you've got a little more time/money to work out what exactly you want.
My first gig was a blast. I used my old Spider III, it was fine, but I needed more thump, and the PA didnt capture the sound the way I like. But, alas, it was a Spider. So upgraded to a Fender FM100 Half stack (Loud as the devil), and added a few pedals, it works great. I like the simplicity of a big rig with simple pedals. Modulators are great for recording, but managing the shortboard was a chore, and I didnt have the on the fly functionality thay I wanted. Dont get me started on "Channel Volume" either.

Your crate should be fine in any bar. A stack is great for a big club, but most tube amps like to be cranked, and that is something that you may not be able to do in a small venue.

I saw a guy play in a rock n roll cover band with a Fender Tube Combo, probably a twin reverb, or a deville. It sounded great, mic'd up of course, but it was awesome! Dont let size fool you. A good sound man can make a lot of things sound great.
1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty)
1980 Marshall JMP 2204
A Peavey Windsor will give you good crunch/rock tones, and the 100w half stack is only $400
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If you're new to gigging and don't have a van/bus, I really recommend you avoid going down the half-stack route. Grab either a combo or a head+2x12 at most, but any bigger than that and it'll become awkward and heavy, without any real benefit.

There's loads of much better deals to be had by buying used - have a look through your local Craigslist/eBay and if there's anything you like the look of, post it here for an opinion.