Monday, January 18th, 2010
We Share The Same Skies
The Cribs at The Phoenix in Toronto
Frank 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. Dose.ca and Metro have interviews with Ross Jarman while The Boston Herald draws the Gary Jarman straw. aux.tv 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
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