Gig review: The Cribs at O2 Academy Leeds

The Cribs at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
The Cribs at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff
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OK, so the Jarman brothers and auxiliary guitarist David Jones are a little tardy coming on stage tonight for the second of their sold-out Cribsmas shows at Leeds Academy, three-quarters of an hour after support band Swim Deep have performed the last song of a middling set.

But my goodness, they are more than worth the wait.

Tearing into Come On, Be a No One they follow it with outsider anthem after outsider anthem, with Gary, in particular, intent on bellowing himself almost hoarse.

Addressing a lively crowd before a venomously punky Cheat On Me, he observes: “Last night was great but the question is, Is tonight going to be better? You’ve got a lot to live up to.”

During Glitters Like Gold the audience is showered in sparkling ticker tape. Ross stands on his drums, hammering his cymbals.

Before launching headlong into Our Bovine Public, Gary, with tongue lodged firmly in cheek, claims the band are in talks with the Government about making Cribsmas a national holiday. “It’s going to happen,” he jests.

During Be Safe, their avant garde collaboration with boyhood hero Lee Ranaldo, who’s here in video presence, projected onto a huge screen, it’s clear that The Cribs could make a convincing Sonic Youth tribute band should they ever wish to.

Then just when you think this show couldn’t get any better, it does. “Seeing as it’s Christmas, we’ve got a special guest,” says Gary, and on walks the ever-dapper Johnny Marr to strut his way through We Were Aborted and We Share the Same Skies, the highlights of the Ignore The Ignorant album that he co-wrote with the Wakefield band in 2009.

There’s time yet for Arena Rock Encore with Full Cast, in which they observe poignantly, “Sorry that’s taken years/We were victims of our own ideals”, another mass singalong to Men’s Needs and a grimy, Joy Division-like City of Bugs.

Gig of the year, no question.

Gig date: December 19

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