The Cribs – review

ULU, London

Their one-album alliance with Johnny Marr ended last year, but if the Jarman brothers from Wakefield, who comprise the Cribs, never repeat the Top 10 success they had with Marr, they still have a following who start chanting their name 15 minutes before the set starts. More voguish bands would kill for fans who are so fired-up that they revive the heritage craft of crowd-surfing – it's as if Ryan (guitar), Gary (bass) and Ross (drums) are loved even more fiercely now Marr and his stardust have left the building.

Every song inspires the predominantly male crowd to new heights of joy; they chant the seven-note guitar intro to Another Number and provide a backing choir of "ooh-ooh-oohs" on the power-poppy Women's Needs. Cheat on Me (from the album with Marr, Ignore the Ignorant), meanwhile, has a huge chorus that is turned into the terrace singalong it was meant to be. The fans may have been too young when the Libertines and the Strokes gave stubbly indie-punk a new lease of life 10 years ago, but they are giving the Cribs every atom of their devotion now, as the trio (augmented by a tour guitarist) keep the genre clanging along.

Eventually, the reason becomes clear. No matter that many songs, such as the show-opening Chi-Town, from the forthcoming album In the Belly of the Brazen Bull, are essentially three minutes of shouty guy-rock: what the Cribs are good at is radiating a gang-like panache that transcends the music. Ryan and Gary work in seamless tandem – swapping lead vocals, intertwining guitar and bass lines – and Ross is the brooding engine room. Together, they're cooler than the sum of their parts.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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