The Cribs – First Direct Arena, Leeds (20th May 2017)

Back in February The Cribs announced that they’d be embarking on an anniversary tour for their ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ album, which would come to an end with the Wakefield trio playing their biggest headline show to date at Leeds’ First Direct Arena.

Walking onto the stage in front of a backdrop sporting the album cover, pints went flying across the pumped up crowd as the band kicked off proceedings with the raucous album opener ‘Our Bovine Public’. They roared through the twelve track album with ‘Men’s Needs’ and ‘I’m A Realist’ receiving backing vocals from the crowd on the opening riff alone. Though it’s been ten years since the album’s release, the tracks all stood just as strong and relevant as they did when originally released in 2007, still maintaining the power to trigger chaos throughout the angst driven crowd.

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The Cribs aren’t a band short of landmark gigs and last year saw them headline Leeds’ Millenium Square – an electric night that Bassist Gary Jarman admittedly didn’t think could be topped, until now. As always, the Jarman Brothers made the gig into somewhat of a family reunion and their rapport with the crowd between tracks was just as comical as ever. Guitarist Ryan described themselves to still be a “LoFi band from Wakefield” and he definitely hit the nail on the head with that description as he told the crowd of another landmark that the band had reached that night; the only headline band to have turned up at the venue in their own van.

Though special guests were teased from the original gig announcement, I don’t think that anybody was prepared to see Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo turn up and perform his ‘Be Safe’ monologue for the first time in the UK. Ranaldo left the crowd on a high and wondering how the band would follow on from his appearance, though it was only seconds until the album backdrop dropped and the blistering guitar of ‘Ancient History’ began, before we said goodbye and a final ‘Happy Birthday’ to ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ with the stunning acoustic album closer ‘Shoot The Poets’.

The rest of the set saw the band conquer tracks from all aspects of their career; including ‘Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant’ and its B Side ‘Kind Words from the Broken Hearted’. Both ‘Another Number’ and ‘Come On, Be A No-One’ sent the crowd wild, as well as ‘Different Angle’ from their latest album ‘For All My Sisters’. The night came to an end with the seven minute wonder that is ‘Pink Snow’, another track from ‘For All My Sisters’. Though we were celebrating the ten year anniversary of one of their best albums to date, the crowds reaction to the newer material highlighted the bands consistent skill of writing anthemic lyrics and catchy riffs that without a doubt will continue to captivate fans for another decade!