Over the past few years Leeds has become renowned as a centre piece for many a band doing those one-off open air showcase specials which turn out to be a real talking point. Like Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl, Leeds Millennium Square has allowed a nucleus of local heroes to apply their trade to a large audience and create that inner city festival vibe that sets the city talking.
The Cribs are no stranger to the big time, with 6 studio albums all hitting illustrious heights and, if you’re a true fan, you’ll probably not be able to credit that it’s been 15 years since their inaugural shindig at the legendary Brudenell Social club. The Wakefield three piece, who class Leeds as their second home, drew a near capacity crowd this past weekend with a finely tuned supporting cast of Thurston Moore, Pulled Apart by Horses and Menace Beach.
Millennium Square sits right in the heart of Leeds adopted musical village, next to the historic O2 Academy venue and the crowd pleasing Leeds Arena. The surroundings of high-rise buildings and bars make a perfect sound barrier, with no clash, or more importantly, noise complaints from the onlooking hotels and apartments. The cosmopolitan audience of die-hards, the curious and the knowledgeable caused a positive stir from the get-go as another Leeds outfit, Pulled Apart by Horses, were our initial port of call. The local four-piece, who drafted in a small contingent of fans themselves, warmed the faithful perfectly; with ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive taking the majority of the credit, with ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ hinting at signs of their early fame. Although a short and sweet set, they packed in various edits from their catalogue and were a sure fire feather in the bow.
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Sonic Youth were an inspiration for The Cribs, so to have Thurston Moore taking centre stage, with his axe in tow, was a moment the group will never forget. The largest pop came from his ‘The Best Day’ epic but he shuffled his way into the old school with an array of Sonic Youth-style jams. To rapturous applause he thanked The Cribs for the 45 minute saga; drawing the crowd closer to the stage where we were more than ready for the main event to follow.
With the onlookers now fully tuned into the main stage, the epic journey, and masterclass, was set to begin; and we, the crowd, were more than ready to round off our evening on a high and finish off in style.
The threesome came to the stage with no warm up under their belts, but showed no signs of stage rust as they got into their groove early with renditions of ‘I’m A Realist’ and ‘Burning for No One’ which had the frenzied crowd in an up roar, and allowed those early ‘arms in the air’ and pint throwing moments we all love and hate (if you’re smack bang in the mixer – that is!). After a few shoulder shaking moments, and some accurate jumping on the spot from the early efforts, Ryan and his brother gave a huge thank you for the turn out and the tone of his voice didn’t lack that nostalgic feeling as he was ever grateful for the support over this past 15 years.
‘Come On, Be A No-One’ always adds depth, and shows their skills in how to move their followers into another dimension; whilst ‘Hey Scenesters’ is the perfect singalong cut that always marries into their sets with effortless ease. With the near capacity crowd in full flow by now, we edged further into the mix ourselves to absorb the pulsating vibe which seemed to naturally draw us into the centre of the square. ‘Chi-Town and ‘Mirror Kissers’ were also fine instalments to the list, and all the while the band still showed no signs of missing a beat.
Moving through the gears, The Cribs brought out the often out-casted track ‘We Share The Same Skies’ and the cultured face melter ‘Different Angle’ which in turn showed no signs of diminishing the crowds earlier performance of audience appreciation. My pick of the evening went to ‘Mens Needs’, which, for me rounded off proceedings perfectly; it always allows the ever present fan faithful to bellow their last breaths in excitement. However, slightly before the cult classic rocked out the show, the party was halted for two confetti cannons marking their encore appearance.
With that said it was a true flame of inspiration that burned bright from the guys all through their set, it was felt by the whole crowd, and not least by me, where it certainly reignited all aspirations of youth – optimism brewing and a big smile on my face that would last a long time...
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Words: Rob Chadwick
Photo Credit: Danny Payne