Live Review: The Cribs – Leeds First Direct Arena 20/05/2017

What’s better than a hometown band playing a hometown arena show? Pulled Apart By Horses dominate the stage early on. With I Punched A Lion In The Throat having the biggest impact early on, the anarchic punk rock vibes pack a huge punch. There isn’t a huge crowd down yet but the few numbers that are here make it feel like the arena is packed out. It would be difficult to review this band and not mention the huge influence Nirvana must’ve had on PABH, they have all the core elements of grunge and do it really really well. The stodgy bass licks slap you round the face and the contrasting low guitar riffs uppercut with absolute ferocity. Venom and High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive are an energetic end to a triumphant set from the Leeds lads.

Commanding the stage as if it was their own headline show, Slaves are bringing the capital cool to the north tonight. Cheer Up London is an absolute banger and gets the best reception from the crowd so far.
Willing the youthful crowd to register to vote and “fuck the Tories”, the band dedicate the next song to Theresa May “cos she always looks like she’s sucking on a sour sweet”– dropping into the uber punk vibes of Spit It Out. Slaves’ stage presence is undeniable; keep an eye out for them because they’re most likely going to be playing stages this size very soon.

It’s 2017; MNWMW is 10 years old and is the album that shaped a large amount of indie millennials, there’s going to be a party in Leeds tonight. Starting the riot with Our Bovine Public, The Cribs make it clear that they’re as killer live as they were their youthful 10 years previous. Men’s Needs was always gonna go off but it’s great to see it so early in the set (track 3 off the album). The entire arena absolutely erupts, screaming the lyrics back with so much passion. Major’s Titling Victory is a highlight; a song not usually played in a live environment for the band, it’s a time for the die-hards to have their sing along moment.

I’ve Tried Everything should probably be the anthem of anyone who has grown up in Wakefield. The band are super proud of their Merrie City heritage and they’re not shy to let the crowd aware that they’re still that same “mid-fi band from Wakefield”– queue chants of “Wakefield Wakefield!”
The moment of the night was undoubtedly Be Safe. Slam poet Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth appears to perform the spoken word part from the song whilst The Cribs accompany in the back. There’s not a closed mouth in the entire audience- some fans knowing the words better than Ranaldo himself who has to read the lyrics from a scrap piece of paper. Shoot The Poets is a drop in pace for the band but not for the crowd; some members of the audience drape their arms round their mates in full campfire singalong to the acoustic closer of the album.

“That was Men’s Needs Women’s Needs Whatever Leeds!”

“The mosh pit gets hotter when we play the later stuff” guitarist Ryan Jarman states as they drop into Different Angle from their latest album For All My Sisters. The Cribs are super down to earth and state “We’re the first band to headline Leeds arena who showed up in a van”, that’s the legacy of this band, they’re not flashy, they just want to turn up and play the show, simple.

In further typical Cribs style they drop a B-Side; Kind Words From The Broken Hearted – the B-Side of the song that kicked off the second part of the bands set; 2005’s Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant. The riff of Another Number is probably on the curriculum of every electric guitar teacher in Wakey and it only takes the first note for the crowd to recognise it and immediately sing along with the riff. Mirror Kissers is just ridiculous, everyone has lost their minds and is dancing like nobody is watching. This is the great thing about a Cribs show, there’s no judging here- just die-hard fans watching the band that they love.
Pink Snow is a stunning spectacle to close; pink lighting dominating the arena and pink confetti erupts onto the crowd.

This may not be the biggest show that The Cribs have ever played and will ever play, but it might be the one that means the most. The most underrated band in the UK playing an arena show with little to no popular radio/TV airtime, it’s the core following of this band that catapults them to the bigger stages. Happy 10th Birthday Men’s Needs Women’s Needs Whatever, you’re the album that changed many lives for the better, here’s to the next 10 years!

The Cribs – Website/Facebook

Photography and words by Forte Photography UK – Website/Facebook

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