Date: 4th June 2016 (Camden Rocks Festival)
Venue: The Electric Ballroom, Camden.
So after a long day, of varying bands and tightly-packed venues, it was finally time for the naughties indie-rock legends to grace The Electric Ballroom and headline Camden rocks. Everyone was there to see it: committed fans, the convinced-at-the-last-minute and other bands who had played gigs today. Apprehension grew fast and relentless chants of “Wakefield” were getting louder and louder – but they were eventually met with a delivery of the good stuff. As the infamous Yorkshire Jarman brothers walk onto the stage and nonchalantly start playing their guitars, there is (as predicted) instant moshing, of the drunken, rowdy kind.
It’s only when seeing twins Gary and Ryan Jarman strum out their aging hits and scream down the mics, that you realise something about bands like The Cribs. They are a lucky by-product of musical crowd mentality. Their indie tales of shitty towns, young love and apethy are far from unique, bands had been doing it long before them (the likes of The Strokes and The Libertines to name a few) and bands were doing a remarkabley similar act since them (almost every up-and-coming indie-rock artist), and yet with their relatable image and knack for getting people riled up, they have transformed, and maintained their status of being one of the biggest cult bands in the UK. This is not to take anything away from The Cribs as an act, as you could not deny the incredible atmosphere that was instantly achieved at the Elecrtic Ballroom tonight, the crowd was a blurring swarm of chanting, shoving and jumping – the perfect rowdy mess that you would hope for at a gig like this. It is something that can only be achieved with a level of authenticity from bands such as The Cribs, however it is clear when watching them from a certain perspective that they are not doing anything overly different from the myriad of bands that showcased their talent and hunger across Camden Rocks today – and yet it is just working for them.
Notorious hits such as ‘Mirror Kisses‘ and ‘Men’s Needs‘ created a adoring crowd reaction unmatched by other attempts. People were simply manic, in the best possible way and this is what tonight was all about at Camden Rocks. The Cribs’s moment in the limelight represented everything that the bands who played today (regardless of genre) want to get to, and the kind of endless, and seemingly effortless success that The Cribs aren’t going to get sick of any time soon. This ‘you-had-to-be-there’ sort of cult atmosphere tonight just proves how important band identity and following is, to the point that it often surpasses the importance of the music quality (especially with indie music).
(All images: Steph Baker)