Last night marked the second time of seeing The Cribs this year; although it would’ve been great to join them throughout this residency tour sometimes money doesn’t stretch that far. After seeing The Cribs many times before, it’s become quite clear they can’t have a bad show. However with this being residency tour and opting to play in more intimate venues the gig had the chance to be very memorable. The barriers were not in use here so every fan had a chance to get up close and personal with the acts, which is something that lost in a lot modern day gigs that intimate feeling, which means so much to fans.
The Gorilla venue setup was perfect, it wasn’t that big so when everyone arrived it looked half empty, but it wasn’t so small that it struggles to fit everyone in. Also the merch area sat nicely above the bar in a little hut, so you could purchase with less hassle. So everything was set, how did the bands do?
First up was a three-piece from Chester called Peaness, who have taken on the 10 questions here at WFM! Which is a must read! But it was so cool to see them live after having their EP on repeat for several weeks. However it would’ve been handy to have brushed up on the songs once more, so I could’ve sang with a bit more confidence. They’re set list was packed with loads of fun songs that made much of their EP, so it was cool to hear it live.
‘Oh George’ was a personal favourite mainly because of the catchy chorus, along with the pacey drum part to partner it. Another song that really stood out was ‘Skin Surfing’, not only are the guitar parts really catchy but the change in vocal pitch for the chorus is sweet. Definitely need to see them again with an improved knowledge of their lyrics!
Next up was Demob Happy, a band that I’d never heard before but all three completely looked the part especially the lead singer who looked like a metal version of John Lennon, very cool. They’re set was completely packed out with hard-hitting drums, erratic lead guitar and a heavy bass. They sounded like a heavier, more authentic version of Royal Blood.
You could tell each member of the band completely lost themselves while playing, as they were that into performing. ‘Be Your Man’ was an incredible song with some impressive guitar work around it, although the vocals were hard to hear at times the instruments were enough to hold everyone’s interest. ‘Wash it Down’ also stuck out on the set list, it was just so impressively put together and heavy, my head nearly came off with the sound. Finally although every member of the band was incredible, majour props have to go to the drummer who was impressive, the sheer energy that went into his performance was eye-catching!
Finally the time had come for The Cribs to grace the stage once again, and as they came on for another memorable night, out of pure instinct that burst of energy flowed through me.
They got some of the popular songs out the way early to get the crowd gripped, with ‘Our Bovine Public’ and ‘Men’s Needs’ being the chosen ones. Also ‘Martell‘ came out, which is a song that doesn’t get played enough for how popular it is, however I can appreciate keeping it special. Each brother was on form with not one of them missing a beat, and still giving it everything after what has been a grueling tour so far.
The setlist was a varied as it could’ve been, as they pulled out songs from each album and managed to make them all flow together making a great setlist. Also had the chance to hear Gary sing ‘Confident Men’ from In The Belly of the Brazen Bull which was a surprising to hear as I hadn’t heard the song in such a long time, reminding me of how underrated the song really is. Along with this from the first album The Cribs ‘Baby Don’t Sweat’ and ‘You Were Always the One’ came out to play from the first album which are always a pleasure to hear. However due to the unique circumstances of the show, these songs seem to have a different light, as if playing them so close to the crowd gave the songs a new lease of life.
It amazes me how after so many years the guys still have this same guttural feeling playing these decade old songs. It’s encouraging to see that no matter how many times they play ‘Another Number’, they still know how important it is to their fans.
From The New Fellas ‘Hello? Oh’ appeared which was welcomed surprise was after never hearing it live before. Ryan played this near enough solo with his vocals isolated with just his electric guitar-it was amazing to hear as they crowd passionately sang with him. From Ignore the Ignorant ‘Hari Kari’ also got a run out which was special to see them perform, purely because of the way Ryan delivers that Hari Kari line which makes me scream it back.
Midway through the show Ryan launched himself into the crowd into a sea sweaty hands and haircuts with all of them catching the beloved guitarist. It’s here where I get to share that I managed to kiss his head as he was getting passed back onstage – it was a special moment that tasted of hairspray.
The show also gave me the chance to hear ‘Dead at the Wheel’ which was a song I was highly anticipating. Whether or not it was Ryan reliving some bad memories while singing the song, he genuinely looked very vulnerable when performing it. The song came across very real and you got the feeling it was very personal to him. It was interesting to see the show slow down for this song and then pick back up, but it was great to hear.
They closed the gig with ‘Broken Arrow’ which is the last song on their latest record 24-7 Rockstar Shit. The song definitely has the potential to grow into a show closer, but my ears longed for ‘Pink Snow’ off For All My Sisters. It was going to be a big ask as ‘Pink Snow’ was the closing song the previous night, and on a tour where they want to make each show different, it wasn’t going to happen. However credit has to be given because it’s pretty bold to be changing your set list up every night to give the reoccurring fans something different to salivate over.
Sorry for the long review but this show deserved it as The Cribs once again served up one of the few gigs that I will take to my grave. This band is genuinely very important to me, and has been a key part in me growing up over these last 5 years. Which is why it’s special to have these shows, where they clearly show how important it is to them and how much they love performing. I’m sure this won’t be the last time seeing them, but until next time guys, Be Safe.
Words by Alex Wise @AJWise