Live: The Cribs Doncaster Dome
09 Dec 09
Despite being the biggest headline gig in The Cribs career, it was marred (no pun intended…) before the Wakefield via Manchester via Portland quartet took to the stage. At the risk of sounding pretentiously ‘indier-than-thou’, it was clear this wasn’t going to be the ideal gig the boys dreamed of, before any band had struck a chord, due to the busloads of ‘lads’ who had presumably used the gig as a stop off point on their way to a footy match/a night on the lash. That isn’t to say I’m prejudice, it’s a free country, anyone can listen to what they wish, and adhere to any stereotype they feel fit. However when mandatory aspects of that stereotype mean you have to waste half your wages on loose change to skim off support acts heads [The Slits] and enough airborne beer to waterlog a stage, you shouldn’t be straying from anything other than the gigs of Kasabian, The Fratellis or The Pigeon Detectives. Oh almost forgot the obligatory misogynistic behaviour. The fact the first coins/pints were thrown before they had even uttered a noise, only solidifies the innate buffoonery of these ‘men’.
Of course the trio and cousin Johnny weren’t going to let such a show of testosterone fuelled hooliganism go unmentioned, with both Gary and Ryan expressing their disgust and contempt for the meat heads in the crowd’s actions (strangely their angry words were cheered on by the same people they were aimed at…). Just as the title of their newest album suggests, the band ignored the ignorant and went on to play a tense, angry but blistering nevertheless set.
The songs seemed to grow from the anger the band felt, becoming visceral rumbling punk testaments to the band The Cribs have become. ”Save your secrets” delicate beginning to drum clattering epic’s transition was all the more rapturous and hard hitting live. Similarly ”Victims of mass production” somehow managed to become even more anthemic, if not only for the band having a target to aim it’s accusatory Britpop jangle at in front of them.
Of course the biggest response was found for the tracks from their most ‘mainstream’ hit record ‘Men’s Needs Women’s Needs Whatever”. Although ”Men’s Needs” and ”I’m a Realist” are undoubtedly two of the catchiest in their arsenal, the spiky hook laden riffage of either can’t resonate half as much as the messages and intricacies found on the tracks from ‘Ignore the Ignorant’. Still amazing pop punk songs in their own right, they’re fast becoming (in my opinion) The Cribs version of a guilty pleasure, you just can’t seem to shake the image of ‘lads’ sloshing beer and chanting along anymore…
Classic ”Direction” largely fell on deaf ears, when it surely should have been the most celebrated track of the night. A snippet of first album era, harking back to squeaky guitar riffs, distortion, crashing cymbals and ultimately nostalgia, however once again nostalgia can’t be felt when you’re just being introduced to the song that night…
Undoubtedly the highlight of the set was the mid paced soothe of ‘Be Safe’. The confident word spoken lyrics of Lee Ronaldo, accompanied (as always) by footage of the legend himself, tinkering with Beatles records, rocks, pipes and the head of a Barbie doll, projected behind the band, hypnotically repeating rhythms and textures, with the occasional harmonised ”Be safe, be safe, be safe, be saaaaafe…” is nothing short of mesmerising.
Closing with ”City of Bugs” and a shower of angered amp destruction and feedback, the band left the stage. Abruptly. Poignantly. Proudly. This wasn’t just a sour gig, if anything it was a realisation, a turning point. I’m not sure how they’re going to do it, I doubt even the band have a clue, but it is becoming ever more prominent that they need to shed these ‘fans’, and fast. It’s clear The Cribs are destined to be as legendary and influential as the bands they themselves cite as heroes, but they aren’t going to get there with the extra baggage, I think it’s time for more drastic measures than the notion of ”Ignore the Ignorant”