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Converse Get Dirty @ 100 Club, Wednesday, April 17

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The last time The Cribs played the 100 Club was on their first ever headline tour in 2004, off the back of their self-titled debut album, before they promptly got massive and outgrew the sweaty basement hideaway. Tonight the band’s story comes full circle. This is the first chance to see Ryan, Gary and Ross Jarman since they won the NME Award for Outstanding Contribution To Music this year, an accolade they picked up on the eve of their best-of compilation ‘Payola’ being released. You can feel the love in the room.

Support comes from Drenge, another band of brothers from Yorkshire (Rory and Eoin Loveless were raised in Castleton, Derbyshire, but are based in Sheffield). They’ve come on a lot since being heralded for ‘Bloodsports’, a sledgehammer of a track that’s still one of the highlights of their set. Forty minutes of blues-heavy material slide by. They will be filed, inevitably for a two-piece, next to The White Stripes and The Black Keys, but display shades of noise learned from Sonic Youth and a British indie swagger that Kasabian would be proud of.

But the warm-up is overshadowed by in-crowd hype for The Cribs. Right before the Jarman brothers storm the tiny stage (to their regular intro song ‘God Gave Rock ’N’ Roll To You II’ by Kiss), loads of colourful balloons are released and the crowd pops them instantly. This certainly ain’t no kids’ party. “Welcome to feeling old!” Ryan yells. “Fuck feeling old though, right?”

Moments later he dives face-first into outstretched arms as fans provide the vocal on perennial live favourite ‘Hey Scenesters!’, proving that, really, not all that much has changed in the last 10 years.

For the next hour the band work up a sweat, skipping through ‘I’m A Realist’, ‘Cheat On Me’, ‘Men’s Needs’ and ‘Our Bovine Public’. ‘Leather Jacket Love Song’, the ‘secret’ Cribs song that was finally released last year, gets an outing, as does the little heard ‘Tri’elle’, but Ryan ignores the crowd’s pleas for setlist regular ‘Another Number’. “You don’t want a B-side or something?” he begs. Nah, thanks Ryan. London wants to hear the hits. Lucky there’s plenty of them to go round.

Hazel Sheffield

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