The Cribs: O2 Academy, Sheffield

As the lights dim, the arrival of Wakefield’s favourite sons becomes imminent. In honour of the Halloween festivities, the band emerge in full costume including Ross as Freddie Kruger. Although several years have passed since the last time The Cribs graced a Sheffield stage, the sight of Ryan Jarman dressed as Paul Stanley from KISS was never expected.

The band put fears that a KISS tribute set is about to occur by quickly launching into ‘Come on Be a No-one’ followed by the high-octane rumble of ‘Our Bovine Public’. Next follow ‘Girls Like Mystery’ which causes frenzy, the adoring crowd keen show the band that they have been sorely missed.

Although Johnny Marr has now left, the band play highlights from Ignore the Ignorant, including ‘We Share the Same Skies’ and fan favourite ‘We Were Aborted’. The loss of Marr doesn’t appear to have hindered the band, they continue to play with confidence and relentless energy.

The Cribs provide a live show that never stops being fun and exciting. Ryan, who continues to look like a long lost Ramone, constantly fizzes around the stage and Ross’s drumming remains forever powerful and brooding. As Ryan and Gary swap vocal duties and their guitar parts intertwine, as on the glorious ‘Mirror Kissers’, the band are clearly enjoying every second of their time on stage.

The highlights from latest album In The Belly of the Brazen Bull include the venomous strut of ‘Jaded Youth’ with its tirade at fashionistas who value style over substance, and the relentless energy of ‘Chi-Town’. A particular highlight is the impassioned ‘Back to the Bolt Hole’ as Ryan growls “Just try to think it’s the one thing that makes it all worthwhile/That I/ One day will die”. The song carries an odd sense of euphoria within its bleak intensity and it makes for particularly memorable moment.

Elsewhere, the old songs continue to receive an ecstatic response. The swaggering stomp of ‘Hey Scenesters’ causes delirium, the anthemic riff of ‘Another Number’ is sung back to the Jarman brothers with loving affection and a tender version of ‘It Was Only Love’ is a gift for hardcore fans.

The band are clearly keen to explore their growing back catalogue, and from the epic ‘Be Safe’ to the charming pop of ‘You Were Always The One’, it becomes clear that The Cribs are becoming a bigger band, and more significantly, a better one. At one point, Ryan makes reference to his fabulous attire and quips ‘KISS are just going to have to accept that we rock a little bit harder than them’. As the piercing guitars of ‘City of Bugs’ echo from the walls and bring the show to a euphoric end, Sheffield is more than willing to bask in the greatness of The Cribs.

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