The Cribs @ O2 Academy, Bristol, 16/05/2017

The CribsOnly the best albums get an anniversary tour. You know, those albums that will become a future symbol of a generation, genre or subculture, like some kind of time capsule you buried in primary school. The CribsMen’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever is just that. Except that the album is still relevant now, an unbelievable 10 years on.

2007 was the year the iPhone came out, Britney shaved her head and Lindsay Lohan went to rehab, a lot. We started queuing outside shops overnight for stuff we don’t actually need. 2007 was if you like, the year we went downhill. And as if to know this was happening, The Cribs culminated their tween angst and managed to pack it up into one modern punk album. Little did they know it was destined for a ten-year tour down the line, cleverly titled Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Forever.

It’s not exactly packed in Bristol’s O2 Academy this evening, but the people that are here certainly know what they’re in for. With the album played in its absolute entirety, in order, the O2 turns into one big sing-along, shouting lyrics over each other with pints swinging around in the air. There’s such a familiarity when an album’s played sequentially that you don’t get with ordinary gigs; you know exactly what’s up next and that’s exciting in a very different way. Plus every person in the crowd shares the same love of Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, or they wouldn’t have bothered buying a ticket.

From the sarcastic boldness of “I’m A Realist” to the drone-like self-righteousness of “Major’s Titling Victory”, The Cribs perform with every bit of gusto and energy they can muster. Ten years hasn’t appeared to age or hinder that original punk vigour at all. The tempo slows for “Be Safe”, seeing Sonic Youth’s Lee Ronaldo projected onto the backdrop and is then maintained by acoustic finale, “Shoot The Poets”.

By the end of the track, everyone is wondering what’s next. Is this the end of the gig? “We know the album isn’t quite enough for Bristol,” Ryan Jarman reassures us, “you need to hear some bangers”. The Wakefield twins, now living in various areas of the US, have lost their Yorkshire accents and traded them in for an unusual American-Northern twang, which is incredibly confusing when you’re expecting a thick Yorkshire tone.

Accents aside, The Cribs deliver the bangers with “Mirror Kisses” and “Pink Snow” with an intense extended outro to close the night. It’s gigs like these where you can properly admire punk songwriting and lyricism, accompanied by the classic rock guitar-bass-drum combination. Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever may be 10 years old, but it feels like it hasn’t aged at all.


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