Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Cribs - January 13, 2010

The opening night of 2010's Tomorrow Never Knows series, split between the newly opened Lincoln Hall and Schubas, was a strong one. The shows are intended to highlight up and coming talent, but The Cribs already have all the help they need. There is some irony in the biggest draw in a night of upcoming bands in a new club being a well-established icon.

Portland's The Dead Trees kicked the evening off with a solid half-hour set of folk-tinged rock that a times verged on a twangy take on Foo Fighters, and occasionally felt like a less psychedelic Vietnam. Call them what you want, the set was unfortunately short and has us salivating for their Chicago return. Thankfully, the band returned to the stage to serve as Adam Green's backing band; stealing the spotlight from the clown prince of punk-lounge. Green's set began as the kind of tiresome, obnoxiousness that would normally send you packing for the bar. The wild, attention-starved dancing and deep crooner vocals smacked of Tom Green and Jim Morrison's drunken child attempting to play a lounge singer. In the midst of the fifties-inspired rock backing, it was awkward and annoying. Then, somewhere around the middle of "Nat King Cole", Stockholm Syndrome set in and his on-stage antics started to seem amusing. The former Moldy Peaches member is the rock equivalent of a b-movie, in all the right ways. How can you not sit back and enjoy his, ode to Ms. Simpson, "Jessica", or his attempts to sing and crowd surf simultaneously? Despite wanting to leave when it started, Green ended up convincing us that his set is not to be missed for the sheer insanity of it all.
The Cribs hit the stage right around eleven for their hour and fifteen minute set, jumping into the new Marr-led soundscape quickly with the spangly riffs of "We Were Aborted". Johnny Marr's classic wide-legged power stance served as a glorious reminder of where he comes from, while fitting right in with the band on stage. Any trepidation as to what may happen with the older material was set at ease on "I'm A Realist", where Marr laid back and colored in the spaces of an already great song. Fan favorite, "Men's Needs" got a bit more of a touch-up, with the wildly flailing guitar of Marr adding a new dimension. The brothers Jarman were no more upstaged by Marr live than they are on Ignore The Ignorant, holding their own in the presence of greatness. The band's more mature sound is even more apparent live, with the dazzling "We Share The Same Skies" delivering well-deserved chills. Old anthems like "Our Bovine Public" fit in well with new shout-a-longs like "Hari Kari", where snarled vocals played well against the slamming beat and desperate riffs. Spoken word rocker, "Be Safe" used the venue's video screen to display the video of Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo delivering the spoken portion as the band jammed over it for one of the highlights of the set.
If the tour is coming through your town, you would be insane not to jump on the chance to see the band in its current form. Regardless of how long Marr is with the band, it is clear The Cribs are better for the experience. They were already a damn good band, but are now a great one.
Set List
We Were Aborted
Hey Scenesters!
I'm A Realist
Emasculate Me
Last Year's Snow
Cheat On Me
We Share The Same Skies
Hari Kari
Save your Secrets
Our Bovine Public
Another Number
Ignore The Ignorant
Be Safe
Mirror Kissers
Men's Needs
City Of Bugs

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