NME Awards Show
The Automatic, The Cribs, and Giant DragEdit this event
- Astoria, London »
Being a scenester is somewhat like being a racist. No one really wants to be one and no one ever believes they are. So to watch The Cribs headline a ShockWaves NME Awards Show in front of the 'Stripes and Pearls' brigade is perhaps like spying on the British National Party. Except the BNP wouldn't be able to maintain perfection for 60 minutes of flawless pop.
In fact no one can do it like The Cribs. Only when a band is in love with their songs and clasps their instruments with a parental affection, can a show like this be staged. Drummer Ross can only relieve the manic enthusiasm by mounting his kit like a climbing frame. For other bands this is a set-piece, but the Cribs never feel contrived. Every inch of the set is filled with sheer hunger for performance.
It is however, a simple house, built from the most basic constituent parts; one guitar, one bass and one drum kit with barely a pedal in sight; The Cribs are however, elegant architects. They thread together precise melodies and huge choruses with a songwriting talent that is surely the envy of their peers. Even their setlist tonight has the same intuitive composition. The lighting, with two disco-balls and strobe lights, maintains this effect, calming and exciting the audience in sublime fashion. Nothing about The Cribs is superfluous; every lyric, every rhythm and every drum-break is in its natural place and so very, very necessary.
Surely a band that provides nothing more than required, and in doing so takes no risks, but gives, throws and showers the audience with exactly what they desire, is irrelevant? After all, do we not want to be in total awe, have our breath whisked from our lungs by life-altering inventiveness? Not tonight. Tonight the perfection is contagious. They close their set with two favourites; 'Hey Scenesters!' and _'Another Number'_. The well-documented irony of the former is clearly lost on over half the audience, whilst the latter prompts Ryan to disrobe and leap into their arms. As I exit the Astoria beaming like a member of the Cribs fraternity, my glee is not unique. Every face is adorned with similar pleasure.
Makes you wonder, maybe there's a little "scene" in all of us.
Photo: Sonia Melot
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