The ever popular one day festival Live at Leeds featured bands from Britain’s indie golden era, including The Kooks and the Mystery Jets. As well, it featured the next generation of stars such as Declan McKenna and Sea Girls. The Cribs belong to the former category purely based on their longevity. But they demonstrated why they remain as relevant as ever 20 years in.

The previous night they performed their iconic first two albums in full at a celebratory concert in Liverpool’s Olympia. The return to their home county here became a continuation of this celebration. This time in a fervent and muddy festival tent.

Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant?

After warming up with ‘Glitters Like Gold’, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy with the sing along riffs and choruses of early hits ‘Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant?’ and ‘Another Number’. 

They journeyed through all parts of the band’s history with ‘Cheat on Me’ from ‘Ignore the Ignorant’, followed by ‘Running Into You’ from their last album ‘Night Network’. However, the opening notes of ‘I’m a Realist’ quickly launched the crowd into another rowdy sing along moment.

Men’s Needs

Dedicated to the late Steve Albini was ‘Give Good Time’, from ’24-7 Rock Star Shit’ which he produced. Following this was a moment for the crowd to take a breath with the thoughtful ‘Moving Pictures’.

Afterwards was a trip through the deeper cuts of ‘Leather Jacket Love Song’ and ‘To Jackson’. There was not much of a break from the hits though. The soundtrack to any great indie disco ‘Men’s Needs’ ripped through the big top tent. Then there was another fan favourite, the pounding spoken-word anthem ‘Be Safe’.

The Lee Ranaldo recorded monologues and driving guitars became especially defiant as the band started to receive warnings from off-stage about the time they had left. As with their career, the Jarman brothers decided that they would continue as long as they wished.

Hey Scenesters

Chosen over the popular ‘You’re Gonna Lose Us’ in an on the spot question to the crowd, the overwhelming fan favourite ‘Hey Scenesters’ justified its inclusion in the set. Its timeless angular riffs and shout along opening line were a highlight of the night.

Fellow ‘The New Fellas’ track ‘Mirror Kissers’ was a final muddy dance along moment. As following this, the set closed out with the psychedelic whirling guitars of ‘Pink Snow’.

20 years on from arriving into a crowded British indie scene, The Cribs remain one of the few to have lasted the test of the time while sounding as fresh as they ever did.

Sam Campbell
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