The Cribs + Slotface + God Damn @ The Institute, 13th May 2017

Some bands, as The Cribs have, manage to create an album in their careers that become a defining piece of work. At least this is how it seems to me. Every track is a winner, the album as a whole just seems to flow, and as a complete package it’s better than anything a band has done before or since.

My record collection has a fair few of these, Leaders of the Free World by Elbow, The Bends by Radiohead, George Best by The Wedding Present, or Script of the Bridge by The Chameleons. That’s not to say that those bands haven’t written better songs that appear elsewhere, its just that as an album, something like The Cribs’ Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, is just the best album they have done, as an album.

The Cribs have avoided the seminal album bandwagon so far, at least until this tour. But the fact that Men’s Needs…. is already ten years old is a bit of a shocker. It’s a slight indictment of our approach to music these days that tonight Gary Jarman thanked the crowd for remembering it and selling out the dates on this tour. I think he underestimates the generation z-ers who made up most of the crowd.  In a world of disposable entertainment quality still rises to the top and remains durable.

Durable is one adjective that can be applied to the Black Country’s God Damn. A better one tonight would be belligerent. I’d heard a lot about these guys and I was looking forward to seeing them live. Their hard rock/punk act has more than surpassed cult status and it was a surprise that they were only first on the card tonight. I was not disappointed. The music was as expected but the set was raised several notches by an altercation between vocalist Thom and some bloke in the audience.

It was one of those incidents where you blink or turn your head away and the important moment is missed. I don’t know if something was said, or thrown or whatever, but Thom was raging about something. Flipping the bird to the crowd at every opportunity he eventually got off the stage and onto the floor, mic in hand and confronted some bloke, pints flying everywhere and people backing away. It certainly added an edge to the proceedings. They went down a storm.

Norway’s Sløtface had to follow that. Unfortunately their indie-tinged punk seemed a bit light-weight as a result. Not quite an anti-climax but, through no fault of their own, they took things down a notch. Again I’d heard good things about the band but I wasn’t hearing anything distinctive or outstanding but the longer they played the better it became and the crowd gave them a great reception.

The Cribs came on in drips and drabs, steadied themselves and went straight into Our Bovine Public. The resulting tsunami or beer and bodies, pouring over the barrier, continued all the way through the album section of the set until the final tune Shoot The Poets. The security had looked somewhat nervous at the start but they had their work cut out. Certainly the notices about crowd surfing being forbidden that festooned the walls of the Institute were an obvious waste of paper.

In those first three tunes Our Bovine Public, Girls Like Mystery and Men’s Needs. The Cribs created an opening to a record that it’s hard to surpass. The crowd sang all the words; sang all the guitar lines and showed that they knew their stuff. Maybe that’s why Gary thanked them.

The second half of the set was a mixture of singles and standards, with Men’s Needs b-side Fairer Sex being the only puzzler for the by now very sweaty and beer soaked faithful. There were a good number singing along though and Gary applauded them with “one for the hardcore fans”. Ryan Jarman seemed a bit subdued in the second half but he was back to his best for Pink Snow.  He book-ended it with his own snippets of Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People and, somewhat bizarrely as he was left on his own on stage, Hands Up by Ottawan.

For all that The Cribs’ Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever is a marvellous album, and this was a great gig,  I hope that this signals the end of the seminal album idea for them.  Different Angle and Pink Snow show the quality of what they can do these days and a follow up to For All My Sisters would be very welcome.


The Cribs Set List

Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever

Our Bovine Public

Girls Like Mystery

Men’s Needs

Moving Pictures

I’m a Realist

Major’s Titling Victory

Women’s Needs

I’ve Tried Everything

My Life Flashed Before My Eyes

Be Safe

Ancient History

Shoot the Poets

Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant?

Come On, Be a No-One

Kind Words from the Broken Hearted

Different Angle

Fairer Sex

Another Number

Mirror Kissers

Pink Snow


Photographs: Stephanie Colledge

Words: Ian Gelling

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *