UK trio The Cribs have been playing their own brand of anthemic punk and power pop for fifteen years now, and show no signs of slowing down. Consisting of twins Ryan Jarman on guitar and vocals and Gary Jarman on bass and vocals, along with younger brother Ross Jarman on drums, the band released their latest, Steve Albini-produced record 24-7 Rock Star Shit in August. For this album, the brothers chose to do away with the production and multi-tracking that they’ve engaged in with their more recent releases and go back to the raw, straight-to-tape sound that defined their early years. Their US tour brought them to U Street Music Hall precisely two years two the day after the last time the band played at the venue.
It’s worth noting that 2017 is also the ten-year anniversary of the band’s third album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, the record which broke them to a wider audience. The band toured in the UK specifically for that anniversary earlier this year, but didn’t make it to the US at that time. Instead, tracks from the album featured in this show as prominently as the new record, starting with set opener “Our Bovine Public.” The show started off extremely dark, with Ross actually asking after the second song, “Come On, Be a No-One” (from 2012’s In the Belly of the Brazen Bull) for more light, noting “I can’t see my own instrument!” Other than that, though, the show seemed to go off without a hitch, with the band tearing from one song to the next with the ferocity their live shows have become known for.
For the third song of the night, the band played a new song, “Rainbow Ridge.” The first of four songs from the new record played throughout the night (along with “Give Good Time,” “In Your Place,” and “Broken Arrow”), it fit in well with songs from the band’s equally raw second album The New Fellas (2005), including the now classic “Hey Scenesters!” and “Mirror Kissers.” They did play a few songs from their more polished 2015 release For All My Sisters (“Different Angle,” “Burning for No-one,” and “Pink Snow”) but, probably due to the nature of playing them live as a trio (without the additional touring musicians who have supported them on some past tours), those took on a new, less polished sound as well. The band’s sixteen song set went by quickly, leaving the fans wanting for more, but despite the many calls for it they stuck with their usual policy of not doing an encore.
The show was opened by Glasgow-based indie band PAWS, who released their third album No Grace last year, and who put out a new double A side single, “Omaha”/”Eventual Hell” for the tour.