Live Review: The Cribs at The Garage

on Monday, August 02, 2010
Words: Kieran Toms

Live: The Cribs at The Relentless Garage, London (14/07/10)

The Cribs (old lineup)
Perhaps being young is the best time of your life. It’s certainly what some people say. “The Good Old Days”, as one important band of my earlier years sang. Maybe because you see the old days through a gold filtered haze, and you don’t see your troubles or worries and that sort of thing. I dunno, psychologists probably know better.

In June 2005, the day before my 17th birthday, shortly before the release of The Cribs’ second album, 'The New Fellas', I stood, youthful and impressionable, in the Garage in Highbury to watch The Cribs perform tracks off both the aforementioned album and their eponymous debut effort. It was the first time I had properly seen the band, having caught the raucous end of their Reading festival set the summer before and been a fan ever since.

So it was a slightly strange experience to be stood in the same room just over 5 years later (alright, it’s not that long in the scheme of things, I suppose, but it feels a while), watching the same songs by the same band. The Cribs have come a long way since then, as has the venue in fact, now renovated and rather smarter.

I suppose this gig could have been a little too steeped in nostalgia, devoid of any “now”, a mere harking back to better times. But just as the same people that sang about the good old days also mentioned that "These are the good old days", for The Cribs that’s probably true - 4 albums in and showing no signs of slowing down, selling out venues far bigger than this now, even up a member thanks to Johnny Marr (though he is absent tonight, not having played on these first two records). So rather than being a lament to times past, it instead has an air of celebration – both of The Cribs’ achievements, and of 10 years of their Wichita label, the reason for this gig taking place.

The Cribs (new lineup, with Johnny Marr)
The band are in fine form, despite their protestations that they’ve forgotten half the songs due to not playing most of them any more. Every song is bellowed back by the gleeful crowd, and what fun songs they are, full of Whoa-Ohs that make them perfect singalongs. And the fact that both albums are, as advertised, played in full means no-one is left disappointed that their favourite is missed out.

Maybe trying to look at it with objectivity is beyond me, because these are songs that I listened to a hell of a lot back then, songs I never supposed I‘d hear live again. And so when, prior to 'The Wrong Way To Be', they tell the crowd that in the old days they used to have lots of people stage diving at their gigs and that they’d be pretty pleased like it if that happened again, I forget that I am here in my work clothes, and that the kids at the front look awful young these days, and that when I was sixteen I dislocated my shoulder crowd surfing. And so onstage I hurry, darting past the suddenly overworked security (I may have lost half a yard of pace, but it’s the experience that counts). And then back into the crowd I hurl myself. And then my shoulder gets dislocated again, and I am in hospital till half three in the morning.

But it was worth it.

The Cribs released their latest album 'Ignore The Ignorant' in September 2009, more details here.

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