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The Cribs
Live review...
The Cribs, Adam Green, Talulah Does The Hula
There's quite a bit of hype surrounding Talulah Does the Hula here in Belfast at the moment. Those who caught them at the Spring and Airbrake have recently been spreading the joys of Talulah's bubble gum pop around the lugholes of Belfast like wildfire and it is clear to see why. They share melodies with the classic 60s girl groups, the indie pop sensibilities of Blondie, the stunning looks of The Saturdays but all the while offering up something sexy, new and cool. They are the complete pop package.

Adam Green and his unusually hairy backing band take up residence next and decide to stomp all over the delicious slice of pop pie that went before. Mr Green leaps and lunges around the stage like a manic toddler to the frantic rhythms battered out by his backing band. Dance With Me is a simple pop delight while Emily has a more than a little in common with The Velvet Underground. However it is with Superstar Blues, a song written about Britney Spears, and Baby's Gonna Die that Green gets the Mandela Hall feeling rowdy. This rambunctious performance is a necessary warm up before The Cribs. Now we don't want to pull a muscle, do we?

I have been a Cribs fans for quite a long time now and a bit of a purist when it comes to their recorded material, we also feel the same way of The Smiths. So, if anyone other than Johnny Marr, even Mike Joyce or Andy Rourke had joined The Cribs I would have categorically dismissed it. What would such a relevant band want with an old indie fossil in their band? The answer being that it's Johnny Marr! Johnny Marr!!

They open with We Were Aborted and immediately everything clicks into place, Johnny Marr is a Crib, granted a slightly more weathered Crib but nonetheless it makes sense. The added guitar brings a new texture to the furious sound of The Cribs. However it would be wrong to say that Johnny Marr is simply a hired gun, his unique guitar jiggery pokery is all over songs like City Of Bugs, Hari Kari and Last Year's Snow and proves a subtle but genius layer to The Cribs live experience.

From seeing The Cribs twice before, once in this very venue (even though the Jarman brothers can't seem to agree on if they did or did not play here before), I have come to expect a show of organised chaos. Tonight isn't as frenzied a show as the previous have been. It's more polished and tight and that may be considered a bit strange for a band that forged a career on broken instruments, bloodied faces and half finished sets. Our Bovine Public, I'm A Realist and Men's Need' are vicious and vital and sees Ryan Jarman take his soap box and command the enthralled Mandela Hall.

The Cribs are at the top of their game right now, a fantastic new album, Johnny Marr and a brimming back catalogue. It will be interesting to see if the success will kill them just as it did Kings of Leon.

Philip Taggart

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Gig Details
Venue: Mandela Hall
Location: Belfast
Date: 22/09/09

Related Links
+ The Cribs
+ Adam Green
+ Talulah Does The Hula