Live Music Reviews

The Cribs + The Automatic + Giant Drag @ Astoria, London

20 February 2006


The CribsAll a boy from Yorkshire can ever really want is the opportunity to headline the Astoria. That and a great big fuck-off banner resplendent with the family crest to hang behind you while you play. “Eh up, that be riiight special, that be. T’Astoria? Eeee, that be grand…”

Tonight, The Cribs got both. And this former warm-up act for Kaiser Chiefs, these one-time stars of Trisha, approached it all the only way you’d expect them to – flat-out, non-stop, death-or-glory.

But before the brothers Jarman had a chance to batter us all into submission, Giant Drag had a chance to beguile us into adoration. It was a chance confidently seized with both hands, at least one foot, and a shout of “Kevin Is Gay!”. Kind of like The Sundays if they didn’t wash for a month, or Courtney Love if she did, or maybe even The Kills giggling at knob gags at the back of the bus, Anne Hardy and Micah Calabrese sparkled. They’ll be back, and next time they’ll be further up the bill.

Frankly, they could have taken The Automatic‘s place on this one without many complaints. Few can deny that being cooed to by a pretty girl while her multi-talented drummer does several things at once is infinitely more appealing then being shouted at by three Welsh guys who really, really (really) like The Rapture.

It was all a bit samey. Actually, it was so samey it is entirely possible that they played the same song four times in succession to kick off tonight’s performance, but, to give the boyos due credit, set closer Monster did suggest they could yet stumble onto a way of assembling their predictable constituent bits (synth ‘n’ guitar ‘n’ shouts) into something a wee bit original on a more regular basis.

And so to The Cribs. This was always going to be an opportunity for Wakefield’s finest to step up in status, and by the time the blitzkrieg of Hey Scenesters, Another Number and The Wrong Way To Be had collapsed into a sweaty mess of energy and football terrace style chant-a-longs, all in front of that enormous crest, there were few who didn’t believe they’d pulled it off with some style.

Admittedly, scaling up the size of the performance was done at the expense of some of the bittersweet melodic subtlety of tracks like Mirror Kissers and The Lights Went Out, but that which was lost was replaced with the unexpected transformation of those songs into communal epics of almost stadium bothering size.

It ended with Ryan in the crowd shirtless, Gary and Ross taking in the rapturous reception that rattled round the venue, and the Astoria collectively imagining the possibility of The Cribs joining the Kaiser Chiefs / Arctic Monkeys in hyperstardom. On tonight’s performance it should be no problem at all.


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More on The Cribs
The Cribs – Night Network
The Cribs – 24 7 Rock Star Shit
The Cribs – For All My Sisters
The Cribs @ Forum, London
The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull