The Cribs

The Cribs


“Is Johnny Marr still in the band? No? Good.”

It’s true that the Johnny Jarman period split Cribs fans. It’s a long way behind them now, but Marr’s reputation lives on, certainly in the mind of my mate Danny who asked me this. The fact that Ryan Jarman will have to ask twice later on in the night if anyone’s heard their new record For All My Sisters suggests that he’s maybe not the only one who feels like this, which is a shame as it’s something of a return to form. It’s also telling that tonight’s set will include only ‘We Were Aborted’ and ‘Come On, Be A No-One’ from both Ignore The Ignorant and its follow up In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull respectively.

All of this is still to come though, as Paws open up to a quiet Albert Hall. The muddy sound means the guitar is almost inaudible as well, leaving an early ‘Tongues’, which should be a tumbling pop punk gem, sounding murky and clattering. They seem annoyed, and the refrain of “another defeat” in ‘An Honest Romance’ could be at the hands of the sound engineer. The band take their frustration out on their closer, ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’, deconstructing it, all stops, starts and slurred verses.

The gremlins that plagued Paws are mostly sorted by the time Pulled Apart By Horses take the stage to the pummelling ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’. The drummer’s shirt comes off and they belt through the likes of ‘Hot Squash’ and ‘Lizard Baby’ from third album Blood. Singer Tom Hudson’s mic stand is wobbling, leaving him bent double and making knob jokes in between singing the main riff to the Cribs’ ‘Another Number’. He introduces a new song as being about how “lamb is the prince of meat”, which bodes well for their next record. Guitarist James Brown climbs the speaker stacks for the laser-guided riffs of ‘High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive’ and Hudson dives into the crowd. The set ends with Brown hurling his guitar in the air over his head and catching it, before dropping it on the floor and standing on it. What could seem indulgent comes across as triumphant, PABH clearly having a great time supporting their Yorkshire brethren.

Most bands who kick off a gig with two album tracks from three records ago could probably expect a slow start, but The Cribs aren’t like most bands. ‘Ancient History’ sounds enormous tonight and the intro riff of ‘I’m A Realist’ has the Albert Hall yelling along. Ryan is on particularly good form, thrusting his mic stand into the crowd, setting it back up with his back to us, knocking it over with his guitar. Current single ‘Different Angle’ gets an early airing and its jangly riff wouldn’t have sounded out of place at a Cribs gig ten years ago. Ross climbs onto his drum stool to bash out the intro to debut album favourite ‘You Were Always The One’ which receives a rapturous reception. Ryan jokes that they always dreamt of playing it in an Albert Hall when they wrote it before running through an impromptu unaccompanied laidback version of the chorus.

The Cribs

The Cribs

Of the new songs that pepper the 90-minute set, the meaty ‘Mr Wrong’ and a jagged ‘Burning For No-One’ are the highlights, but a killer run of punk bombs ‘You’re Gonna Lose Us’, ‘Moving Pictures’ and ‘Hey Scenesters’ is brought to a halt by ‘Pacific Time’.  The fact that it’s followed by the monolithic ‘Be Safe’ really puts it in the shade, the heartbursting chorus the best thing the Cribs have ever written, no mean feat considering the main thrust of it is a monologue by Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo. The usual projection screen of him reciting it isn’t here tonight but it’s not missed. The Albert Hall is a suitably dramatic venue, to the extent that it feels hilariously inappropriate for everyone to sing along to the line “When I’m drunk I can be an arsehole/That don’t mean that I’ve got no class though” in ‘You’re Gonna Lose Us’.

The Cribs always get a warm reception in Manchester and it doesn’t seem disingenuous when Gary declares it their second home. Whether it’s really the best night on the tour or not is another question, but they share grins during ‘Shoot The Poets’’ instrumental section when the whole room is singing along to Ryan’s acoustic guitar so loudly that he stops playing for a moment and no-one notices. The bodies start flying again for the likes of ‘Mirror Kissers’ and the biggest reaction of the night is reserved for ‘Men’s Needs’’ unmistakeable tightly wound riff and third wave feminist chorus. The night ends in the same way as For All My Sisters, with the album title referencing ‘Pink Snow’. It’s a funny choice for a closer, with pretty sections punctuated by shards of guitar noise, but that sort of sums up the Cribs. No-one does it better.

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Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at if you want (you should).