Live at Faversham on Saturday, 12th March 2005
If your priorities when it comes to gigs include musicianship and not getting shoved around, then you probably shouldn't go to see The Cribs. Your time might be better spent taking a long hard look in the mirror and contemplating where you left your youth. Last time The Cribs played The Faversham it was utter chaos. They ended up playing behind a wall of very pissed-off looking bouncers. So tonight, there is a bar across the stage, just for the three Wakey lads. That's rock'n'roll for you.
Before The Cribs incite a riot, let's not forget The Lodger. What is remarkable about this three-piece (other than the glorious songs) is the confidence that they are now playing with. No more nervous smiles, Ben is battering his guitar, Bruce is having a party with his kit, and even Lisa is moving around a bit. This is progress. They haven't just come on in terms of stage presence. The songs have got better. A significant chunk of Leeds probably knows 'Unsatisfied', and many more will soon know the two forthcoming singles, 'Getting Special' (as part of the Wrath Super Sevens) and 'Many Thanks For Your Honest Opinion' (on Dance To The Radio). Now, they also have 'Let's Make A Pact', 'Not So Fast' and 'You've Got Me Wrong', all of which sound as good, or superior to The Lodger's more 'famous' songs. Here we have proper English pop songs. Please pause to imagine Elvis Costello and Ray Davies having a cup of tea while Pete Shelley serenades them on a battered old Telecaster. Aren't crazy similes ace?
If you take the above simile and replace "a cup of tea" with "crack", and "serenades them" with "throws his guitar about and jumps around", then you have The Cribs. Ryan, bless him, is poorly, so the gig is brief and subdued. Is it fuck. Ok, so it is brief, but as you might expect, Ryan is still throwing himself (and probably his phlegm) around like a lunatic. To really enjoy The Cribs live (for their music at least) you really need to know the songs already. Thanks to the band's general disinterest in playing their instruments, and Ryan's constant excursions on top of the crowd, there's not very much guitar tonight, there aren't that many vocals either. Do we care? No, we don't.
The Cribs probably scoff at the idea of musos, of playing note-perfect, possibly even at playing at all. A gig should be about having a party, about giving people a good time. The Cribs do this. New single, 'Hey, Scenesters!' has people shouting along, 'You Were Always The One' promotes full-scale joviality. Each song sounds like a classic, the old ones are treated as such. 'What About Me' prompts a mass sing-along' with backing "Woahs". It all seems to end a bit soon though (until it emerges that Ryan was rushed off to LGI as soon as the last note was played). For musicianship, nil points. For enjoyment, ten points. For sheer foolhardiness, twelve.