The Cribs sang their hearts out in their usual energetic and frenetic fashion, but were met with a rather cold response from Oxfordians.
Being a cold and quiet Tuesday night in Oxford, it is comprehensible that the O2 Academy was not particularly crowded, and that most of the people that filled the rear half of the venue seemed to be more up to having a drink and chat rather than focusing on what was happening on the stage.
However, if there is a band capable of breaking into a peaceful atmosphere and get everyone jumping, it’s the The Cribs.
The Wakefield trio (plus guest guitarist David Jones) looked committed to smash the place up when taking off with one of their last album’s singles, Come on be a no-one, a lyrically self-deprecating song that has an arena styled melody that brings you up and into the concert.
The Jarman brothers proceeded then to deliver a mix of songs from their last three albums, Men’s needs, Women’s needs, Whatever, Ignore the Ignorant, and In the Belly of the Brazen Bull, with their usual energetic approach, which actually makes it not absurd to brand them as a punk garage band.
Watching their performance, it is easy to appreciate their recuperation of the more crude and straightforward guitar lines of their beginnings, rather than sticking to the Smiths-esque sounds they had adopted when former Smiths guitarist, Johnny Marr, was part of the band.
Their live version of We Share the Same Skies is a clear example of that, especially in the intro, as in the recording Marr introduced his unique and usual Rickenbacker guitar style, which is missing on live.
Although the commitment and effort of the band, that has a well-earned acclaim in terms of live performances, was absolutely magnificent, they met the wrong audience in Oxford.
A group of enthusiastic fans that probably did not amount to more than 30 gifted the band with all their passion in the first rows, but towards the middle of the crowd, the atmosphere was rather paused and comfortable.
The concert however reached a high when Ryan Jarman asked which song they should play next, giving the audience the choice between Chi Town or Mens Needs, the latter winning by a vast majority.