The Cribs live in London
- By Jack Preston -
- Mar 02, 2012
There’s something endearing about Shane Meadows’ ramshackle bunch of creations that make up the This Is England gang. They’re not cool, they’re not particularly clever, but they do know how to have a good time. There’s something about them to which you can relate, if nothing else they’re very everyman.
Thankfully all these notions can also be applied to This Many Boyfriends. “Fucking hell, we’re supporting The Cribs, this is mad,” confessed huggable singer Richard Boyfriend [you know what, I don’t think that’s his real name].
While clearly being the biggest gig of the band's short lifespan it was good to see the Boyfriends taking it all with good humour. Belting out their lively, fun-pop tunes, with questionable skill, whilst waving their homemade ‘Go Pop!’ placards at the crowd - before comically seeing them snap under the strain.
Their set was about as far from polished as you could imagine but that’s not their shtick; it’s fun, it’s lively and it’s their ‘yeah, I could do that too if I fancied’ appeal that made the crowd warm to them. A perfect fit for a Cribs support band but perhaps one you might think would have fared better during the indie boom of the late noughties, not that the apparent death of guitar music has affected the brothers Jarman.
“Yeah, I just acted like a rock star. You can’t deny me that though, surely? I’ve been putting it off for the last ten years,” explained Ryan Jarman’s broad smile. The charismatic Crib had just led a hand clap, encouraged a sing-a-long, mounted an amp and played a completely pointless, albeit thoroughly enjoyably, guitar solo.
Not the sort of behaviour you’d usually expect from the self-styled kings of indie melancholia. “We’re sweeping the fucking board at The Brits next year,” joked Ryan, before brother Gary Jarman interjected with a suggestion of “most melancholic band?”
“No, most weed smoked in 2011,” retorted Ryan. The Cribs were in a particularly jovial mood on a mild spring night in The University of London’s student union, being starved of live action since 2010 had clearly taken its toll. Coming out on stage like caged animals, Ryan led the charge with a raucous rendition of ‘I’m a Realist’ – never before has a singer stamped his foot so furiously during a song.
With the abundance of enthusiasm on stage it was impossible for the crowd to not mirror the behaviour of their Wakefield darlings, with favourites such as ‘Another Number’ and ‘Hey Scenesters’ getting the masses into a healthy bounce - resulting in a plentiful spill of student union beer.
With all the fervour it was easy to forget the reason for the band’s four date sojourn, that being the airing of new material. The good news is that, and you’d have to assume Cribs fans will view it as such, is that it very much seems to be a case of ‘as you were’, even with Smiths legend Johnny Marr now departed.
With Ryan informing the crowd he had recently relocated to his homeland up north, leaving London in the process, it points to a continuance of the values and musical pillars that have seen them build such a healthy career, outliving so many of their peers in the process.
The only negative to take away was the disjointedness of some of the songs, however, such humps can be accepeted given the raft of new material and two years out of the game. Drawing the show to a close with the quite sublime ‘Be Safe’ Ryan was keen to point out: “we still don’t do encores by the way, we ain’t changed that much.” The Cribs are back and thank fuck for that.