The Cribs – live at The Limelight – Belfast, Ireland – December 2004 – BBC In Concert –
The Cribs tonight – recorded live at The Limelight in Belfast around December of 2004 for the venerable BBC Radio 1 and “In Concert”.
The Cribs were originally from Wakefield, West Yorkshire and formed in 2001. The band consists of twins Gary and Ryan Jarman and their younger brother Ross Jarman. They were subsequently joined by ex-The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr who was a formal member of the group from 2008 until 2011.
The band, who first became active on the concert circuit in 2002, were initially tied to other like-minded UK bands of that time, most notably The Libertines, by a British music press that were looking for a ‘British rearguard’ to the wave of popular US alternative rock bands of the time. They had outgrown this tag by the time of the commercial success of their third LP. In 2008, Q magazine described the band as “The biggest cult band in the UK”.
The Cribs were formed in late 2001 as a recording project for the three brothers. After recording a demo and garnering label interest, the band started playing live around this time, at venues like the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, and “squats and warehouse parties” with artists such as Calvin Johnston, Subway Sect, Herman Dune, and Ballboy. They also released a split 7″ single on Leeds based garage/riot grrrl/punk label Squirrel Records during this period with former Shove/Boyskout member Jen Schande. Limited to 300 copies on blue vinyl the record is now a rarity that sells for upwards of $150 on eBay. According to Mojo magazine, ‘On the strength of one demo, the rush to find the UK Strokes saw the three-piece fielding calls from major labels, pluggers and label managers’ in 2002. After several high-profile support slots, the band signed to the fledgling independent label Wichita Recordings in 2003 “we thought (they) were great because they sounded a bit like Pavement and had a big hook. We went to see them at the Metro on Oxford Street and completely fell in love with them. They seemed like such an obvious pop band. Every song sounded like a single” – Mark Bowen, Wichita Recordings.
After signing with Wichita Recordings, the band began re-recording many of the songs from the original demo, as well as several new tracks for what would be their debut record. Sessions began in London with Chicago based avant-garde musician Bobby Conn producing, after the band had supported him on some UK dates and impressed him “They had this cassette demo they had recorded on a boom-box, I suggested overdubs, they were too kitchen-sink for overdubs. I tried handclaps, they were ‘not sure about handclaps’. It was all ‘Keep it real'” – Bobby Conn. Then sessions moved to Toe Rag Studios in Hackney with the band self-producing. The album was completed in 7 days, live to 8-track tape, with Ed Deegan engineering.
Released on 8 March 2004, the album found early supporters in the NME, who commented on its “supreme pop melodies”, and referred to it as “lo-fi, hi fun” giving it an 8/10 review. Lo-fi would be a term that would follow the band around for the next few years, and something that became synonymous with the group. Again, from the NME in 2011: “Recorded in a week, it’s the definition of indie lo-fi. But not willful indie lo-fi; the scratches, clangs and gawwumps all heard here are genuinely the product of the trio’s shoestring methods rather than the usual contrived fuzz that bands spend ages poring over beaten up eight-tracks to achieve”. Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq was also an early champion. Lois Wilson of Mojo magazine described the album in 2009 as “intelligent lyrics on a background of clipped guitars and tumbling drums, with nods to The Strokes, Beat Happening, and C86’s inept charm” Three singles were released from the album – the limited edition 7″ only “Another Number”/”Baby Don’t Sweat” in November 2003, followed by first single proper “You Were Always the One”, which climbed to No. 2 in the indie charts. “What About Me” was the third and final single from the album, again making the indie top 10. The Cribs toured extensively throughout 2004 and into 2005, both as headliners as well as supporting artists like old friend Bobby Conn, Death Cab For Cutie and The Libertines. Over the campaign they toured the UK and Ireland, Europe, Japan, and the United States, as well as several significant international festival appearances such as Reading and Leeds Festivals, Summersonic, T in the Park and Pukkelpop amongst others. Though only a moderate underground success at the time “Another Number” has gone on to become one of the band’s most enduring ‘hits’ – seldom being left off the set-list and usually accompanied by a full crowd sing-along of the signature, repeated guitar riff.
As a reminder of their 2004 period, here are The Cribs, live at The Limelight in Belfast recorded around December of that year.
In lieu of ads: Your support – Become a Patron!