Live Review: the Cribs with Adam Green and the Dead Trees at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 19 January 2010

By on Friday, 22nd January 2010 at 2:00 pm

A lot has changed for the Cribs since their last visit to Washington, DC, on 19 March 2008. They’ve got a new album and a new band member, and the band are now playing a larger venue. That gig in March 2008 was my first time seeing the Cribs, and I was blown away, so I fully expected Tuesday night’s show to be something spectacular, and I’m happy to say that the boys from Wakefield (and now Manchester, Portland, and London) did not disappoint!

The night started off inauspiciously when the band that was supposed to play first, the Dead Trees, was unable to play in their scheduled 8 PM slot due to having car trouble on the way down from Boston. Rather than delay the entire show by hours, they decided to share the stage with the other support act, Adam Green, essentially acting as his backing band. While the Dead Trees sounded great, it was Adam Green who stole the stage. He was incredibly drunk throughout the performance and climbed off the stage to attempt to crowd surf during nearly every song. While his behavior caused some unpleasant moments like nearly getting kicked in the face and having my head used for support on Adam’s subsequent trips around the crowd, it also created some very funny moments, as when Green declared that he’d never gotten to order a veggie burger like he’d been promised, asking, “can we just place an order at the Food Food?” (The sign over the venue’s snack bar says “food” on it twice.) Adam’s on-stage antics may not have added much to the music, but they made his set seem to fly by rather than seeming to drag on for ages like support acts’ sets often do. Even the Jarmans were amused by his performance: Gary sat on the guest balcony and drummed on his legs while Ryan came out to watch from time to time.

Although you may have been fooled by the surprisingly large number of people, many of them English who were shouting repeatedly for Johnny Marr, the night was all about the Cribs.  Their set was long at 17 songs and spanned all of their albums, but it certainly didn’t feel long. They played with their trademark high level of energy, throwing themselves fully into the performance. I had thought they couldn’t top their last gig in DC, but with the addition of Johnny Marr on guitar, there was an added richness to all the songs that really took them up a level. A personal highlight for me was ‘Hari Kari,’ my favorite song from the new album, ‘Ignore the Ignorant.’ Seeing Johnny, Ryan and Gary lined up at the front of the stage singing “it’s your mind / it’s your voice / it’s your body / it’s your choice” in unison while Ross pounded away behind them on the drums was a truly powerful moment. Ending their set with ‘City of Bugs’ off the new album and not coming back for an encore was unexpected, but seeing as how they’d already played all the crowd favourites, I can’t see a better way for them to have ended the show than with this amazing rendition, culminating in dueling guitars, fog and flashing lights. All in all, a truly fantastic evening.

After the jump: set list and photos.

Set List:
We Were Aborted
Hey Scenesters!
We Share the Same Skies
Hari Kari
Last Year’s Snow
What About Me
Cheat On Me
I’ve Tried Everything
Save Your Secrets
Mirror Kissers
Another Number
Our Bovine Public
Ignore the Ignorant
Be Safe
I’m A Realist
Men’s Needs
City of Bugs

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