Live Review: The Cribs with Devin at Black Cat, Washington DC – 7th June 2012

By on Wednesday, 20th June 2012 at 2:00 pm

Brooklyn three piece Devin, bearing the moniker of the lead singer, greeted us on a potentially sleepy weeknight with a set deserved of more listens than it got. Despite the barely three dozen punters milling about the venue, Devin Therriault attacked the stage with his punky, rockabilly tunage and managed to make the crowd turn and attend to the stage. The band gave it their all and I’ve got to hand it to any band that does that.

With his barefooted brother of a bassist, they joked they were twins, ala the Cribs. The fact they were brothers was undeniably obvious by the cleft in each of their chins. It was, however, drummer Angus Tarnawsky, hailing from Tasmania, who really grabbed the crowd. After some awesome stick work, the crowd was left chanting “Angus Khan” several times throughout the set, much to the amusement of said Angus.

Having recently played the Great Escape, Therriault’s performance style was well developed but his voice was a little whingy for me. But people make entire careers of being whingy, all hail Bob Dylan and Neil Young, so who am I to say? Closing with the screamingly frantic ‘Masochist’, we were left bouncing and ready for more. With fast and hard riffs and lyrics peeling past you so fast you could barely understand them, Devin managed to do exactly what a support band is supposed to do – warm up the crowd and get the ready for the main attraction.

The Cribs opened up their show with their first single ‘Chi-Town’ from ‘In the Belly of the Brazen Bull’. The crowd actively and fervently embraced the newer material, dancing and thrashing about, but all I could hear was the guitar. I thought Ryan Jarman was poorly mic’d and I could barely hear him at all. Then again, it could be that I was stood directly in front of the classic Vox A30 amp that so impressed my fellow gig goer. Not being a gearhead, he was able to fill me in on its awesomeness. I must say, aside from my issues with Ryan’s mic, the sound was pretty good, so I’ll trust him on this.

The set really got going as they ripped into ‘Cheat On Me’ when Gary Jarman took over the vocals. Following that quickly with ‘Hey Scenesters’ the band had the entire crowd going at a frenzied pace. The energy was palpable and it was definitely fed back through the band. Mid-song, drummer Ross Jarman was standing on his drums. Not just standing on the rim of his kick drum which everyone has seen before, but STANDING on the floor tom, still playing. Jumping about with the rest of them, I thought, “this is what rock is all about!” Rounding out the line-up was touring guitarist David Jones, presumably taking over the Johnny Marr bits from the ‘Ignore the Ignorant’-era songs.

The mid set ‘Be Safe’ had me a bit puzzled since I wasn’t familiar with the recorded version. Complete with a video of Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo doing his spoken word bit, the stage went dark on the band as they played in front of Ranaldo’s image. I have to say I think it works better on the record where I can hear the spoken parts. The most recent single ‘Glitters Like Gold’ however came roaring back with wailing guitar, and a thumping jump worthy beat had everyone battering about again. They ended their set with ‘City of Bugs’, song that defined itself with its complex drumming. Again, the crowd ate it up.

So it was with great surprise that they stopped playing after fourteen songs. Just stopped. The crowd clearly expected an encore, but the lights popped up and the techs started clearing the stage. Clocking in at barely an hour, it was a dissatisfying way to end an energetic and dynamic set. That fact left a tiny bitter taste after an otherwise stellar gig. Maybe they were just setting us for wanting more, as I know the crowd truly did.

After the cut: the Cribs’ set list.

The Cribs’ Set List:
I’m a Realist
Cheat On Me
Come On Be a No One
Hey Scenesters
Another Number
Jaded Youth
Mirror Kissers
Be Safe
We Share the Same Skies
Glitters Like Gold
Men’s Needs
City of Bugs

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