Saturday, November 14, 2009

Live Review - The Cribs @ Bowery Ballroom

It was the British bands second and final sold out night at New York's Bowery Ballroom and the final gig of their US tour before they head back to England and The Cribs went off like a bomb. From the second they went on stage, Bowery Ballroom erupted into pure chaos and there was no controlling the crowd. The Cribs, who are supporting the North American release of their latest record, Ignore the Ignorant, which was just released Stateside this week. The band, who originally were a trio of brothers, are now joined by the legendary Johnny Marr on guitar. Marr who has been joining younger acts, such as Oasis (2001-2002 for Heathen Chemistry) and Modest Mouse (2007-2008 for We Were All Dead Before the Ship Even Sank) is now with The Cribs. When I first learned of this union last year, I was a bit baffled, knowing the success The Cribs had back in the UK, was this a ploy to help them break bigger internationally? I was a bit skeptic. Was Johnny Marr going to make a good band great? I would ask. After last night, I checked myself at the door and realized The Cribs are so good live, they don't need Johnny Marr and Marr, the Ex-Smith's guitarist certainly doesn't need them. However, this musical union works so well that you don't see Johnny Marr and The Cribs on stage, you see a four piece band known as The Cribs in front of you. The band has such a tremendous live presents, their antics are a cross between Green Day and The Hold Steady, just having so much fun doing what they do. Twin brothers Gary and Ryan Jarman would each run into each other and rotate who would sing what song, while drummer brother Ross would literally stand on his drum kit and play on top of his kit! It was unbelievable! The Cribs who are cult hero's back home, brought such a raucous live show, security and road crews just gave up on the audience crowd surfing, throwing beer at the stage and moshing uncontrollably. No one in that audience were pricks either, everyone on the floor had an obligation to look out for each other and picked each other up when knocked down, in many ways, the antics of the audience are symbolic to the band's music. A great pick me up when you are feeling down. The Cribs are a top band, with or without one of my favorite guitarists of all time, Mr. Marr. I now see what he is playing with them, to revive his youth and just have plain fun.
Opening the show was former Detroit buzz band, The Von Bondies. Known to most as "that band that sings that song from Rescue Me," I am still wrestling with whether I liked them or not. They seemed to have fun on stage, but sounded like shit. It was also a weird situation watching a band, who not too long ago, were headling Bowery Ballroom gigs, are now openers. If anything, they are good enough to just be an opening act. Even that song from Rescue Me, the band's biggest single "C'mon, C'mon," didn't get as much applause as it should have. People were dancing, but not many were really into it. Then again, opening for The Cribs maybe one of the toughest gigs in music these days....