Live Review: The Cribs @ Middlesbrough Empire

Middlesbrough Empire – 25 – 01 – 18

Support: Paws, Fangclub

Rating 7/10

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this gig. I’m not a huge fan of The Cribs but after seen them live in action, I’ve become a fan and will seek out more of their music in the future. I originally came here to interview Fangclub, but I’m always interested to see what bands can do in a live setting. With a little bit of hope though, I waited around for the bands to come on stage to see what they could produce at the Empire in Middlesbrough. The Cribs are originally from Wakefield, just down the road and it’s fantastic to see the indie rockers still going strong over a decade into their careers. The band, made up primarily of the three Jarman brothers are a welcomed sight on Teesside and having the likeness of bands such as The Libertines and The Smiths doesn’t make them all that frightened to see them take to the stage, in fact by the looks of things, it makes them all the more hungry to be on there. Their latest record, 24-7 Rock Star Shit charted at number 8 in the official UK albums chart in 2018.

The opening band, Paws were something different, if not similar to The Cribs as well; a warm-up act though nevertheless. However even if people do not see it, they have the potential to be better than they are and the Glasgow lads will reach new heights, if not now, then soon enough for what lies ahead in their career. Looking back on their performance now though, I’m certain a few people took to them during the set and certainly some nostalgia of the 2000’s era of rock revival was apparent throughout their set. On the other hand, every band I’ve seen at The Empire has gone onto bigger and better things, let’s just hope this band are able to do the same.

Moving onto Fangclub and they were a little lacklustre on the night, especially with tracks from their latest record but building themselves was the key for the foundation of the tour. It was welcomed to see the group here and having spoken to one of their members (Stephen) just a few hours ago, their set is all the more enjoyable. They pride themselves being on one of the next great bands coming out of Ireland and their set proved nothing if not that. With them set for a hectic year, the experience they gain will only make them that much wiser for the future and all the better to watch next time they come up to these parts to play again. They embark on a lengthy UK tour with Milk Teeth in the next few months and being the young rockers they are, combined will see those bands take off if all goes according to plan. Until then, their set is a fairly decent one and see them pick up even more fans on the search for supremacy. Maybe even a UK headlining tour of their own next? Only time will tell on that part I’m afraid, but until then they’ll be enjoying the journey.

Moving onto the headlining act of the night is the Wakefield trio, The Cribs. Anticipation for this band was over the top as I looked around with the audience waiting, holding their breath and looking forward to the stage quite anxiously if I may say. But when Our Bovine Public kicked in, the entire place erupted, in the pit, on the balcony and at the back of the venue. It was all everyone was focussed on as people were engulfed in the music and the showmanship of all members during their set. After a few songs though, the pace began to take shape, but that doesn’t necessarily mean to be a bad thing. What was a welcomed surprise was that everyone in the band had a chance to shine as the brothers did seem out of control for parts and to me that was as close I’ll come to seeing the classic rockstar’s of yesterday but there was something about The Cribs that everyone, myself included just couldn’t deny that was fantastic. Their showmanship was quite unlike any band I’ve recently seen here. Some horizons of their setlist have been mainstays where it shows the bands progressions as musicians where they may once again be demoted to the reserve bench toward the end of the tour although, it was something I’ve been waiting to see for quite a while now.





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