The Cribs & Los Campesinos! @ Brixton Academy

A packed out Brixton academy greeted the DoesItRock crew this evening. Clearly the lineup had captured the imagnation of the attendees as they flocked towards stage to witness one of the under the radar indie bands who had a great 2009, Sky Larkin. Sadly I wasnt as eager as the rest of the crowd, hence I missed their set…oops!

I bustled through the swelling masses to catch an indie group with a big following and a bright future. Los Campesinos! are indie through and through, sweet twee melodies, an onstage army of members plus an astounding array of instrumets ranging from sythesisors to xylaphones and back via cowbells and whistles. Yet their performance was lacklustre and devoid of any heart. From the very begininng most songs seemed to meld into each other without distinction. The lead singer had the campest dance moves since Alan from the Rakes. His Jerky indie grooves were tiresome and iritating.

Los Campesinos!

Playing to a crowd this big seemed to intimitade them at first, but as the set went on they improved playing more of their more recognisable tunes such as You! Me! Dancing! I can’t help but think that they would be so much better in a smaller venue. This evening they didnt have the special edge required to fire up and inspire an ample Brixton Academy crowd.

The Cribs have come a very long way since this reviewer first witnessed their simple riffing shambolic concoction of riotus indie rock at the Brighton Dome in 2005. Their next outing was a very intoxicated but brilliant one at Oxegen festival in 2006. Tonight they showcased a very different cribs to what has gone before. Tonight an grown up restrained group took to the stage with their latest member on parade, indie guitar legend Johnny Marr.

Right from the start you can tell they had 2 guitarists with a grander sound replacing the ramshakle riffing of their early years. Marr’s epic rhythm guitars were measured and restrained compared to lead singer Ryans loose riff based dittys. Music this evening was focused directly upon tracks from their recent albums with an unhealthy balance of songs from their latest underwhelming album Ignore the Ingorant. I can understand why, given as a 4 piece these tunes work better such the epic riffed single Share The Same Skies, but they lose their sense of identity as The Cribs. Gone also is the alcohol consumption and the feeling they were on the edge of a breaking the rock rule book.

The Cribs

As much as the performance was professional and acomplished, it was rather unremarkable. Standout tracks were few and far between with only Men’s Needs and Our Bovine Public being memorable. Cribs need to ragain their aura if they are going to keep up their traditions of great rock shows, but the way it’s heading at the moment, the average indie group label looms large.

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