The Cribs: Live Review

The Cribs: Photo credit: Rhys Buchanan

The Cribs are touring to celebrate the tenth anniversary of releasing ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’. Along with the likes of The Libertines’ ‘Up the Bracket’ and Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, the album has become synonymous with Noughties indie rock and tonight, it’s played in full.

From the moment they launch into opening track ‘Our Bovine Public’, it’s clear that it’s going to be a very special gig. Many of the crowd have grown up with this album, and from the tenacity with which each lyric is sung along, the love for what has been the soundtrack to many an adolescence is clear. It’s an instance where that Dave Grohl quote rings true: “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.”

The Cribs are a family band, made up of brothers Gary, Ryan, and Ross Jarman; the bass drum boasts ‘The Jarmans’, written in a mock-Beatles logo font. This nod to their forefathers can only make you think of the bands ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’, and the rest of The Cribs’ discography has influenced over the years and will continue to influence for decades to come.

Whilst the Jarman brothers are best known for their anthemic choruses and audacious riffs, showcased best tonight by the brilliant, overdriven frenzy that is ‘Major’s Titling Victory’ there are some more delicate moments, too – namely the acoustic, contemplative ‘Shoot the Poets’.

Always worthy of a special mention is the enchanting atmosphere generated by a performance of ‘Be Safe’, the band’s collaboration with Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo. The fact that the band play over a video projection of Ranaldo’s spoken monologue and still create such an atmosphere is explanation enough as to why this track is perhaps their most iconic to date.

The night is rounded off with a fistful of other Cribs material; tucked between fan favourites ‘Come On, Be a No-One’ and ‘Another Number’ is the more obscure, 2007 b-side ‘Get Yr Hands Out of My Grave’. It hasn’t had a live airing in eight years, and naturally, it doesn’t quite incite the same swirling mosh as some of their bigger hits do. However, it is met with a reverent respect that is (unfortunately) quite rare when bands deviate from the expected path – there’s no buzz of talking from the bar, or people waiting for them to “play one we know”. The ability to pull off such feats successfully is probably why, ten years since Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever and fifteen years into their career, The Cribs are still going as strong as ever. Here’s to the next decade, and beyond.

Check out the classic ‘Be Safe’ here: 

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