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Tramshed, Cardiff, Tue 16 Jan

It takes something more than a little enticing to get this reviewer out of the house these days; the prospect of catching the brothers Jarman at one of Cardiff’s best venues is one of them. Arriving at the venue, scores of people are standing outside in high wind and heavy rain, supping at their drinks and having a good old catch-up. Because of this, the Tramshed’s main room resembled a Roman bath – no smoke machine required thanks to the steam generated by people’s heads.

Dublin’s Fangclub dress in grunge-era finery and make a delicious noise. The comparisons to Cobain are kind of inevitable thanks to Steven King’s strangulated yells and cosmic levels of distortion. Whoever has chosen the inter-band playlist, meanwhile, has clearly heard of Cardiff’s reputation as a party city. There’s quite the contrast as Fangclub leave the stage in a tumult of feedback, only for the lights to go up and Cyndi Lauper to be blasted out of the speakers.

Wakefield’s finest The Cribs are touring their latest album, the Steve Albini produced 24-7 Rock Star Shit, but the show is something of a greatest hits collection. They kick off with Mirror Kissers from sophomore album The New Fellas, which produces a mixture of screams, mobiles in the air and a middle-aged moshpit. The opening few tunes are relentless with barely a pause for breath. Come On, Be A No-One and I’m A Realist both receive a rapturous welcome. The ‘new stuff’ is also belted out, but the tracks are peppered throughout the 22-strong setlist, making for a set that both flows and melts faces.

A few surprises happen along the way. The mysterious baseball-capped figure hiding behind the amps, occasionally providing more guitar noise, is none other than Russell ‘The Disaster’ Searle from the criminally undervalued (and Wakefield-based) The Research. There’s also a spot of heavy-handedness from security – a young woman frogmarched out of the venue after throwing her cardigan onto the stage. Her cardigan. When she eventually returns, she is greeted by the sight of Ryan Jarman wearing it (which he does for the remainder of the show). She even gets a dedication in the form of Shoot The Poets – a stand out off the Men’s Needs… record and one of the show’s finest hours.

Despite being seven albums heavier and 16 years older than when they formed, there is no denying The Cribs’ energy and passion to entertain a crowd. The wait for Be Safe and Men’s Needs is unavoidable, but it pays off – along with Pink Snow, it’s the perfect end to a great show.


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