Ten years on from their hallowed ‘Cribsmas’ gigs at the Brudenell Social Club, where they were supported by the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand, Gary, Ryan and Ross Jarman returned for the opening of another sold-out five-night residency at the Hyde Park venue.
This time they’d enlisted Nick Hodgson, the former Kaiser Chiefs’ drummer turned songwriter for a whole list of stars including Olly Murs, Dua Lipa and James Arthur, as support act.
In what was his first gig with his new four-piece band, Hodgson showcased his enduring knack for writing melodies that can worm their way into the subconscious with ease.
There’s more of a laid back, Seventies singer-songwriter vibe to his material these days but a crowd-pleasing slowed-down cover of Kaiser Chiefs’ Oh My God didn’t sound out of place amid the likes of I Love The Way Your Mind Works, RSVP and Don’t Forget To Sleep, which Hodgson, on vocals and acoustic guitar, dedicated to his mum, at the back of the audience.
The strongest songs aired here, Honest Face and Suitable, have hooks to cherish while dulcet set closer Tomorrow I Love You whet the appetite for more gigs to come in Leeds when his debut solo album, Tell Your Friends, is released in the new year.
Headliners The Cribs arrived in a party mood, leading the 400-strong audience in a mass singalong of Ottawan’s 80s disco anthem Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart).
What followed was a mixture of older songs and new, drawn from their feisty 2017 album 24/7 Rock Star S***.
Highlights included Different Angle, from 2015’s For All My Sisters, and I’m a Realist, arguably their catchiest anthem from Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever.
“Did you see us at the Arena?” Gary enquired before the punky 24/7 Rock Star S***. “It’s nice to be back at the Brudenell,” he added drily, saluting “the greatest venue in the world”.
There’s time for an epic We Share The Same Skies, which still bears the hallmarks of their former bandmate Johnny Marr’s telling guitar arpeggios, and a gentler rendition of Sticks Not Twigs.
All in all a fitting way to round off what has been one of the The Cribs’ best years yet.