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Live / stage review

The Cribs: A night of northern adoration for Wakefield's indie veterans

Blue Slush Puppies, caravan parks and crowd surfing – recharged with new album Night Network, The Cribs hurl us back into fuzziness of British indie.

4 March 2022 at
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Jacob Flannery.

For a while it seemed as though The Cribs might have considered calling it a day, but with a new album fronting familiarly raucous live performances, the Jarmans show they’re still very much in their element.

Locally sourced band The Blinders are opening up, bringing their distorted guitars and blues-stricken angst to a filling Academy. The likes of ‘Brave New World’ and ‘L'Etat C'est Moi’ impress with their fiery instrumentals, while those from the new Electric Kool-Aid EP see the outfit delve into reverberating psych territory.

It's a night of adoration for The Cribs from the outset. The recognisable riff of ‘I’m a Realist’ sees crowd members bash shoulders and tumble over the front barrier, while tracks taken from The New Fellas era follow in kind, with audience members on shoulders screaming the lyrics of ‘Hey Scenesters!’ back to those onstage.

‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’ features an eagerly awaited return on vocals from Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, whose initial wordsmithery on ‘Be Safe’ has become a staple of the band’s setlists. It’s the pertinent track which brought the band back for a lockdown live session and still resonates with their audience as they chant the lyrics, “Open all the boxes, open all the boxes”.

Ryan Jarman asks, “Has anyone ever spilled a blue Slush Puppie on the caravan park floor?” before hurtling into ‘Come On, Be a No-One’. It’s the sort of sentence you’re only likely to hear nestled in a northern venue, and much like the sugary high those drinks give The Cribs leave Sheffield with old favourite ‘Men’s Needs’ before the euphoric instrumental crashes of ‘Pink Snow’.

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