It’s Criiiiibsmaaaas!! It is the second night of a five night residency at Brudenell Social Club for local lads The Cribs.
Yesterday’s show was sweet sweaty goodness with a marvellous mix of new tunes and smart selections . The Jarmans have been playing wildly different sets over their Cribsmas tour and it begs the question: what do we have in store tonight?
The Cribs have been making music their own way for a long time now and along the way have built a dedicated fan base. After taking my spot next to the monitors I suddenly realised . Surrounded by Cribsmas jumpers. Inside the jumpers were the Cribs’ fan club, determined to save their spot by any means and somebody was giving booze to these goddamn things. A grinning buzzcut from London enthused that he’d moved up to Leeds for the week to attend all five gigs.
“So how many times have you guys seen them?” I enquire.
“Well over fifty times…I got kicked in the head by Ryan in London the other day” states a lady from Oxford matter of factly. “It was an accident though.”
“This is the 13th time I’ve seen them on this tour” another tells me. On this tour. Seriously, I swear these guys have put another storey on the band’s houses. It won’t be long now before they tear us to shreds.
Monday night was a blast. I got a twisted ankle for my troubles and the photographer injured his back. Tonight the show goes off with an even bigger bang and from the opening seconds of Our Bovine Public we are crushed against the stage and the sweat begins to pour out. Two songs later and the first of many crowd-surfers are tumbling overhead and on to the stage to be caught by security and thrown back over the sides.
The set is front-loaded with singles and we get a few tunes from last night out the way before that beautiful janky guitar riff of You’re Gonna Lose Us rips out and we’ve all got our eyes shut tight screaming “Let’s be having you ooooooouuuut!” and everything is exploding.
The ominous Direction and anthemic Cheat On Me come next with the latter tearing up Gary Jarman’s vocal chords. Being swept up in the delirious joy of the occasion, I can’t be exactly sure when this happened, but around this point in the set Ryan spontaneously leads the crowd through an unaccompanied rendition of It Was Only Love. No accordion today though. The fan club are psyched to hear Hari Kari. New stormer treads the line between melancholy and elevation, morphing from dissonany verses into a melodic chorus that has the gentleman next to me gripping my shoulder like a vice with one hand with the other held to his face in a twisted rapture. These new songs are vibing off Nirvana – just compare the end of In Your Palace with the end of this performance from . Cor, whatta ripper.
In a rare breather between songs the crowd are chanting “Yorkshire! Yorkshire!” and Gary Jarman enquires “So, who was here 10 years ago?” A flurry of affirmative shouts come from around the room. “10 years is a long time to be in a relationship, sometimes I’m amazed we’re still here”. He looks at Ross: “You almost died in 2006.” Ross nods dutifully. “…I nearly died in 2008.” Gary points at himself, eyes thoughtfully cast upwards “…and Ryan…you, er…”
Ryan is busy counting on his fingers “Yeah I nearly died in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011…” The list goes on and on. He is running out of fingers. “We’re the survivors of indie music” he drawls. “The cockroaches!” Will they be back in 10 years? Well, you know they say about cockroaches…
Someone hands Ryan Jarman a glass of dark brown liquid.
“What’s in it?” He holds it up to the light, doubtfully.
“You shouldn’t drink that.” Gary advises a touch despairingly. This has happened before. Ryan shrugs and helps himself to a big chug of it anyway and sets it down on the floor. Miraculously, this hardy beer will survive a host of stage invasions untoppled, before finally cashing in its chips in the final act.
“Who wants to see some acoustic action?” asks Ryan.
“’Acoustic action’ is an oxymoron” teases Gary.
“Naaah,” croaks his brother, “it’s a very sensual thing”.
And so we go into a wistful and reflective take on Shoot the Poets and then a deafening Mirror Kissers picks the mood back up again. People are hoisted up on others’ shoulders, fists pumping up and down to punch holes in the wall of noise.
By the time we’re on the homestretch and are treated to the one-two punch of Hey Scenesters! and The Wrong Way To Be, there are no words to describe the proceedings except ‘utter carnage’. You can’t quite tell if Ryan Jarman is trying to play or beat up his guitar, Gary is screaming into the mic and while there’s been crowd-surfing all night it seems that now half the crowd are up in the air. There are too many of them for security and Cribs guitar tech, Shippo, to handle and they’re spilling onto the stage in heaps. Gary sings a line into the mic, dodges a boot, and jumps forward again. Ryan stops playing to check on a girl in the front row who is, quite frankly, getting clobbered, and satisfied she’s enjoying it, joins back in with the other two who are trying their best to not miss a beat. As the song ends Ryan smiles and shakes his head “You’re fookin’ crazy Leeds. Just do what you want, man, right, but just look out for each other, OK?” Ross throws the lady a bottle of water.
Show closer The Wrong Way To Be traditionally descends into atonal noise but tonight there’s no gradual slide into anarchy – it’s chaos that from the start. I barely catch a word of the song as the tide of bodies lurching overhead cannot be stemmed. The mics tumble over. The beat lurches on. The band manage to just keep the song together and it feels like everything could just gleefully fall apart in a single second and then it does, and the show is over. A perfect ending.
Half an hour ago we were all singing “your precious Leeds is dead” in unison – line from their 2005 single Martell – but I don’t think any of us meant it. It doesn’t feel like Leeds could be any more alive tonight.
I gotta say big kudos to the security and Shippo at Brudenell tonight who, despite the carnage and bodies flying everywhere, kept their calm and were super cool and super nice to everyone. We’ve all been to gigs where the security get rough and gruff with over-excited folk just trying to have a good time, but the Dudenells at the Brudenell allowed everyone to get as crazy as possible with no heavy handedness, no slaps on any wrists and no ejections. Top banana.
OUR BOVINE PUBLIC
COME ON, BE A NO-ONE
YOU’RE GONNA LOSE US
CHEAT ON ME
IT WAS ONLY LOVE
IN YOUR PALACE
IT HAPPENED SO FAST
SHOOT THE POETS
SUMMER OF CHANCES
LEARNING HOW TO FIGHT
I’M A REALIST
THE WRONG WAY TO BE
Jim writes for Leeds Living on contemporary music, bringing gigs alive for readers who couldn’t be there.