Laurence Ettridge 29/05/2007
“Let's Go Fucking Mental!”, chant the more intoxicated members of The Cribs' audience on this pleasantly heated May's evening prior to the band's arrival to the stage. The idea put forward by the rowdy group of drunks is followed through enthusiastically by the whole of the London crowd, with set opener Major's Titling Victory (MTV) activating a flurry of pleasurable boisterousness in the heart of the Astoria. Hey Scensters!, a favourite from previous album, The New Fellas, follows swiftly causing only further joviality in the messy pool of perspiration, which vaguely resembles a crowd.
With a devoted group of followers displaying unconditional adoration such as this, and comments from Gary Jarman, even as mundane as “Y'alright London?” receiving ecstatic squeals in response, it brings up a very obvious question: why have The Cribs not yet deservingly usurped the indie throne? Albums packed out with songs which immediately implant themselves into the brain and into the heart, further supported by live shows more energetic than most others at the peak of indie popularity, should lead to the conclusion that I ought tonight to be witnessing one of the biggest bands in the UK in a fittingly sized arena. However, I am not, I am fortunate enough to be crammed into the intimacy of the Astoria, counting myself lucky to be sharing the experience with the 2000 others in attendance, who are intelligent enough to pick up on the brilliance of this band.
There is no clear cut answer as to why The Cribs have not yet broken the big time, but to be honest rather than getting analytical about other people's ignorance, tonight, I simply want to have a "reet laff" and appreciate the music. The set list is dominated by songs from new album, Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever, but older anthems such as Martell are what give an air of excitement so overwhelming, that even with my 15-stone bulk I feel the confidence to take an amusing round of crowd surfing.
The Cribs deliver a set covering most of the new album, although progressive monologue-led track Be Safe is expectedly excluded, much to my own personal disappointment. Final track of the new album, Shoot The Poets, is used effectively as the penultimate song of the evening, briefly mellowing the excitable sweaty crowd, before The Wrong Way To Be is played to close the 20-song set.
The only possible criticism of The Cribs tonight, would be the absence of songs from their self-titled debut, as only one or two are included. On the other hand, with the release of Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever little more than a week ago, The Cribs were probably just as excited to play the new material as the crowd were to hear it. The set seems unbalanced without more of their earlier tunes, but it did not effect the fun of the evening. It will be interesting to see which songs they choose as they look to star at the festivals this summer.