Monday, January 18th, 2010

We Share The Same Skies

The Cribs at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen it first got out that guitar-god-who-walks-amongst-us Johnny Marr had joined English sibling-trio The Cribs, the initial reaction was skepticism. After all, if run through the NME de-hyperbolizer, the truth was probably more like he crossed paths with a Jarman or three on the street and said “hello” – and anyways, wasn’t Marr already occupied as a full-fledged member of Modest Mouse? Well, yes, but it seems that Marr is almost as good at time management as he is at guitar because as the band’s fourth record Ignore The Ignorant showed, his role in the band is much more than stunt casting.

I can’t say I’d paid much attention to The Cribs prior to their latest, ranking them as a decent if not especially distinctive post-Libertines Brit-rock outfit – high on energy and attitude if not personality – so I’m not necessarily in a position to articulate what difference Marr makes to the band. That said, you can hear his distinctive fretwork all over the record in a manner that’s omnipresent yet unobtrusive, adding a melodicism and shimmer to the Cribs’ songs without blunting their more visceral qualities. This, combined with simply better songwriting and production, have made The Cribs an outfit worthy of note beyond simply the simply Anglo-inclined.

That said, I don’t that I’d have been as keen to hit up their show Friday night at The Phoenix had Johnny Marr not also been confirmed as participating in the North American tour. Technically, I’d seen him a couple Summers ago with Modest Mouse opening up for R.E.M., but that view was from the lawns of the Molson Amphitheatre and the soundtrack for the experience wasn’t especially agreeable (not a Modest Mouse fan here, Marr or no). The opportunity to watch Marr do his thing from 10 feet away would not be missed. But just as with the album, it turned out to be a case of “come for the Smith, stay for The Cribs”.

I may have been relatively new to the band but the heart of the 700-plus in attendance were clearly die-hards, and as soon as the quartet took the stage, a mosh pit manifested and I was thankful I’d gotten there just late enough to be up close, but off to the side. And The Cribs would give them plenty to slam dance about, tearing through a 70-minute or so, encore-less set of loud, raucous, anthemic rock. Be it familiarity or just the fact that their better tunes, I found the Ignorant material to be the standouts of the set, allowing Marr – looking almost unsettlingly ageless at 46 alongside his twenty-something bandmates – to really show his stuff. But he also looked quite at home on the older, more bludgeony material, bashing out power chords and providing backing vox while the Jarmans bounded around the stage and incited acts of stage diving and crowd surfing from their fans. Though the set wrapped relatively early for a Friday evening – not even midnight – there would be no complaining about any lack of rock action on the night.

It’s Not The Band I Hate It’s Their Fans was also in attendance with a review. and Metro have interviews with Ross Jarman while The Boston Herald draws the Gary Jarman straw. talks to them both.

Photos: The Cribs @ The Phoenix – January 15, 2010
MP3: The Cribs – “We Were Aborted”
Video: The Cribs – “We Share The Same Skies”
Video: The Cribs – “Cheat On Me”
Video: The Cribs – “I’m A Realist”
Video: The Cribs – “Don’t You Wanna Be Relevant”
Video: The Cribs – “Our Bovine Public”
Video: The Cribs – “Men’s Needs”
Video: The Cribs – “You’re Gonna Lose Us”
Video: The Cribs – “Martell”
Video: The Cribs – “Mirror Kissers”
Video: The Cribs – “Hey Scenesters”
Video: The Cribs – “What About Me”
Video: The Cribs – “You Were Always The One”
MySpace: The Cribs

Elbow drummer Richard Jupp talks to Clash about his contributions to the Sudan365 charitable project and also tells NME that, contrary to Guy Garvey’s comments that their new album wouldn’t be ready until 2011, he hopes they’ll release the record this year.

Though there’s been no official word on a follow-up to Do You Like Rock Music?, Spinner reports that British Sea Power are planning a release party for the new record at Britain’s highest bar for “May-ish”. Guitarist Martin Noble provided an update on the new record via their blog a couple weeks ago.

Beyond Race has a feature piece and Sasha Frere-Jones an essay-length The New Yorker review on The xx, in town twice in April – on the 4th at the Phoenix and the 20th at the Kool Haus.

Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard talks to Billboard about the Susan Boyle influence on One Life Stand, due out February 9. They’re at the Kool Haus on April 20.

Horrors frontman Faris Badwan compiles a list of best/worst/most/least for Clash.

NYC Taper is sharing a pretty terrific recording of one of The Joy Formidable’s show in New York City last weekend. Simultaneously makes me feel like I was there while feeling worse for not having actually been there.

Bandstand Busking is sharing a video session with Peggy Sue, whose debut
Fossils And Other Phantoms is due out in April.

PopMatters interviews The Twilight Sad.

Note that Laura Marling’s February 9 show at the Drake Underground has been moved to Lee’s Palace. Consequently, it is probably not sold out anymore. At least not right now.

Leading up to the February 16 release of Life Is Sweet! Pleased To Meet You, Lightspeed Champion is giving away a free MP3 a week via Domino Records. You have to make with the clicky on the widget and eventually you’ll find a download link. I got to it by accident, don’t ask me what I did. And yes, it’s a bit maddening.

Paste talks to La Roux’s Elly Jackson.

Clash gets an update on the new record from The Futureheads, who are targeting a late February/early March release.

Muse have released a video for the title track of their latest, The Resistance. They are at the Air Canada Centre on March 8.

Video: Muse – “The Resistance” talks to Tim Crompton of The High Wire about their new record The Sleep Tape, set to come out in March.

NME reports that Fat Richard-era Suede are set to reunite for a one-off charity gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Note that I mock Oakes not so much for his weight, but for his not being Bernard Butler. And also being fat.

Members of Blur talk to BBC 6Music about the experience of making the new documentary on the band, No Distance Left To Run. The one-day Canadian screenings are set for this Thursday but for those unable to attend, like me, Pitchfork reports that the film will be released on DVD come February 15 with a second DVD of the band’s Hyde Park reunion show last year. Which is great if you have a region-free, PAL DVD player. Or live in the UK, which some of you might.

By : Frank Yang at 8:25 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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  1. The Cribs, Jan. 15, Toronto (Review) | Best in British Music Show with Tara O. says:

    […] var addthis_pub = 'TaraO'; var addthis_language = 'en';var addthis_options = 'email, favorites, twitter, facebook, bebo, myspace, digg, delicious, print, aim, wordpress, more'; Categories: Concert and Gig Reviews – Tags: The Cribs […]

  2. Bruce says:

    For a variety of reasons, this was by far the best of the (3) Cribs shows I’ve seen to date, even though I enjoyed the Lee’s gig immensely. Marr gives them a dimension that I can’t see them ever achieving on their own. (And I’d say you did a pretty good job of articulating the difference he makes to their sound!) And regarding this venture vs. his stint with Modest Mouse, his innate style is just an exponentially more comfortable fit with the Cribs than it ever was with MM’s sound.

    Live shows often bring revelations in the sense that songs on an album that don’t particularly jump out can take on a new dimension when heard from a stage. On this night, for me, Save Your Secrets and City of Bugs fit that bill, with the former radiating a Beatle-esque classicism that I didn’t really cop to before, and the latter, with its soaring Marr guitar line, serving as a suitably epic closer.

  3. Frank Yang says:

    hey Bruce – I’m just gonna get you to review the shows we both go to from now on, alright? You’re doing a better job than I do!