In April 2006, the Cribs were my new favourite band. I’d stumbled across the Jarman brothers’ Yorkshirian blend of pop, rock and punk and decided I rather liked it. I became completely obsessed with the band and went on a mission to obtain as many of their recordings as I could.
I kept it a secret because I was a little embarassed with just how obsessed I had become, but also because they were my secret band and I didn’t want anyone to share in the love.
It even violated my Last.FM music play statistics. Most played artist – 435 plays. Most played song “You’re Gonna Lose Us” – 29 plays (that’s the Bernard-Butler-produced single version, not the Edwyn-Collins-produced “The New Fellas” album version).
But eventually, whatever, I came down from the Cribs-induced state of euphoria. They stayed on high-rotate on my iPod, but the fanatacism faded, leaving a nice sense of liked-up-ness.
Then, oh hello, Johnny Marr joined the Cribs. This is another one of those incidents that makes me think the universe is conspiring to make all my dreams come true. The guitarist of one of my favourite bands joining another of my favourite bands.
So with their first album as a foursome to promote, the Cribs rolled into town to play a gig at Bodega. Of course I went along.
After the band entered to the theme from Twin Peaks, they kicked into their first song and suddenly all the oldies in the audience started taking photos. (When I say “oldies”, I mean people my age.)
In front of Mr Marr, a small group of dads appeared, smart phones in hand, trying to taking photo of their guitar hero. It was as if the other lads on stage didn’t matter (just his backing band, right?).
Who cares that Ryan sings hunched over his microphone, attacking his guitar like a northern Richard III, or that Gary stretches out long and tall and lean with his bass, or that Ross powers away on drums at the back? Who even cares that music was being played, that dancing and jumping was happening? All these blokes seemed to care about was getting a digital likeness of a black blur on a red smudge that they can upload to their Facebooks and label “Johnny Marr”.
I managed to jump over to the other side. The audience was treated to many sonic delights, including the lovely vocal harmonies on “Save Your Secrets”, the chorus of “Direction” revved up like a chainsaw of love, and the disembodied head of Lee Renaldo flickering on the wall to join in on the epic, soaring “Be Safe”.
And then with a quickness it was over. They ended and did not come back for an encore. The no-encore move pleased me. For too many years bands have been going through the charade of the “Oh, we’ve finished! Good night!” move, only to be wooed back on stage (“Oh, if you insist…”) to play those other songs that just happen to be written at the bottom of their set list.
The Cribs just ended and walked off. And that was all that was needed. Would the night have been any better if they’d thrown in “Martell” or “What About Me”? (Actually, yeah…)
But perhaps this upset the natural order of the universe. Because on my way home I stopped by the San Fran, sneaking in to see the remainder of The 3Ds’ reunion show. I was just in time for the final song of their encore – the perfect after-dinner munt of “Hellzapoppin”.