The Cribs at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney


The start of the year in Sydney is an excellent time for music lovers, as there are many overseas acts who travel south seeking warmth and coastal bliss. And there are surely few better ways to begin 2013 than by heading along to see a raucous performance from The Cribs, in the intimate setting of Oxford Art Factory.

The Yorkshire brothers arrived to the sounds of Kiss’s God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You. Guitarist/singer Ryan Jarman fisted the air with a cigarette pursed between his lips, dressed in ripped leather and, in less than a minute of the band taking to the stage, made local support act, Sures, seem totally uncool in comparison. Intertwined with tracks from their 2012 release, In The Belly And The Brazen Bull, were favourites like Men’s Needs, Hey Scenesters and Chi-Town, that had the sweaty, male-heavy crowd singing over the band as Ryan continually destroyed his setup with his brand of flamboyant rock n roll showmanship. He bounded around stage, mic stand in hard, inadvertently tangling himself up in his cables and at one stage seemed to be encouraging the whole crowd to join him on stage. Johnny Marr may no longer part of the equation but his departure has actually aided The Cribs’ stage dynamic. Here, with supplementary guitarist David Jones (from Nine Black Alps) unobtrusively staying in the shadows, the three siblings were back to their raw, chaotic best.

Lee Ranaldo was at the gig, in a way. His profile appeared projected onto a wall as he performed the spoken word accompaniment to the angsty collaborative effort, Be Safe.

The night ended with no encore as the boys had already smashed up the stage while Ryan flung his shirtless self into a crowd that had moshed while hanging onto every word for the previous hour. This show was of a really high standard and it was refreshing to see the band’s enthusiasm mirrored (and at some points surpassed) by the audience within a Sydney music scene that often has people cross-armed at the back of a venue. It really was a great way to start the year of gigs to come.

carol bowditch

Words by Carol Bowditch