The Cribs, Heaven, London

3.00

There was a time that The Cribs seemed highly unlikely to be anything other than grot rock also-rans.

That term, coined and commercialised by the NME, seemed synonymous with a whole movement of bands; a smattering of sub-Libertines pretty-boys who, with beer-stained vests, granddad’s brogues and the first Clash record tucked under their malnourished little elbows, set the mid-Noughties alight with a clutch of decent singles and some slightly lifeless debut albums.



The bands involved, momentarily hijacked by Dior Homme’s Byron-loving then head honcho Hedi Slimane, were supposed to fade away with next season’s collection. The Cribs, as inward-looking scene outsiders, were very much expected to go down with the ship; to disappear in a haze of opium and Oscar Wilde quotations like their contemporaries.



But four-years, a pop-star girlfriend and a US relocation later and The Cribs are somehow on a promotional tour for their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled fourth album.



That Johnny Marr (former guitarist in The Smiths as if you need reminding) is now a fully paid up member speaks volumes. That they are expected to transcend the sweaty, meat and potatoes punk of their earlier releases goes without saying.



Launching into their set with a handful of classic Cribs tracks (I’m A Realist, Hey Scenesters, Our Bovine Public) it’s clear from the off that the band’s star signing is effectively a trinket; a redundant force in a group that don’t really need him.



Thrashing out bar chords was never Johnny Marr’s forte and all the painted nails and Johnny Thunders-style posturing in the world can’t hide the fact he looks, dare I say it, a bit silly up there with these young scamps.



However, it would be unfair to judge The Cribs as a whole by the mainly pointless presence of their new guitarist. Much to the delight of their die-hard, ever raucous fan-base, the band seem more than willing to dust down the old hits, reminding us just how many great pocket-sized indie-anthems they have written in their time.



But this is a promotional tour after all, and as everybody knows, promotional tours mean new material. One gets the impression that The Cribs are testing the water with their new songs tonight – trying to gauge the reception each track gets to see if it’s a keeper.



If that’s the case then it could well be back to drawing board as almost every new song falls flat, greeted with indifference by the fans and played lethargically by a band that already seem bored of performing them.



The Cribs could argue that a slightly muddy sound and a thuggish display from security dampened proceedings prematurely but this would be skirting the real issue. The glaring fact is the new songs simply don’t cut the mustard and it’s the passion, outrage and pointed sentiment that originally helped the band outlast their peers, that the fans cry out for. What they get instead is a band seemingly confused by their longevity, starstruck by their newest member and struggling for fresh ideas.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before