Take three brothers, mix in six albums worth of success, add some celebrated supports, and sweeten with a just a dash of hero worship. The result? A night unlike any other. Curating their own mini-festival at Millennium Square in Leeds on 22nd July, The Cribs are gearing up for something truly great.
“I guess this is a bit of a childhood dream in some ways, to put on a big outdoor event in your hometown.” Gary Jarman enthuses. “It’s the sort of thing that you fantasised about when you were a kid, y’know?” Talking from their practice room in their hometown of Wakefield, the band couldn’t be more excited to have the city flooded with the sounds of their favourite acts. “Having a heavy band like Pulled Apart By Horses echo around the centre of Leeds, and having it so that anyone who’s in the town centre can hear somebody who’s a hero to us like Thurston Moore doing his thing, it makes you omnipresent in the city that day,” Gary raves. “That’s something that’s really exciting, when you’re really bringing it to people.”
Terming the event their “Live Aid/Wembley 86/Reading 92/Spike Island/Knebworth”, there’s no doubting the sense of occasion as the date edges ever closer. “We put bands on that we really like so that you can get excited,” they delight. “Having it outside in the summer, you can hang out and watch bands and have a few drinks and get in the frame of mind where you want to do your thing.” Bringing the music they make and the music they love to the people, for the people, the sense of celebration could not be stronger. “I’m not going to say that it’s been our white whale,” Gary chuckles, “but it’s been something that we’ve really been hoping to be able to put on for a long time.”
Catering to the individual in a forum as large as this might seem like an impossible task, but their ability to connect with a crowd of 10,000 as resolutely as they can a crowd of 100 is part of what makes The Cribs so ardently adored. Inciting free-wheeling chaos and heartfelt sing alongs across a festival field as effortlessly they can in a basement venue, the Jarman trio perform with an energy and a spirit that can be neither forced nor rivalled. It’s this spirit that draws support and admiration from all across the world. With fans travelling from as far afield as the USA, Canada, and Japan to attend the concert in Millennium Square, the three brothers couldn’t be more humbled.
“It’s really hard to put into words,” Gary stutters, piecing together his thoughts. “It’s hard because I’m a very sentimental person,” he trails off, flustered. “With the internet and the way that people can communicate I’ve become very acutely aware of things like that. We’re definitely not in any way numb to that sort of thing.” It’s a compliment and a responsibility that the siblings take with every note of sincerity. “It’s nice to feel responsible for people getting out of their hometown and going somewhere else. That’s something that when I was growing up I always wanted to do. So if people are going to use the band, or use what we’re doing, as an excuse to do that, then that’s really inspiring to us.”
Inspired by the crowds they inspire, it’s this mutual appreciation that has brought The Cribs to where they are today, and indeed, led them to curate their very own Cribs-summers night’s dream. “It’s pretty good justification to know that we’re putting on an event that appeals to people from different countries to the point they’re prepared to get on a plane,” Gary expresses. “It really gives it a huge sense of occasion. That’s exactly what we wanted. Fans having that sort of dedication, it really vindicates everything that we wanted to do.”
Ever thankful for the support they continue to receive, The Cribs’ shows are every bit as much about the band celebrating their fans as they are the other way round. “We feel indebted to the crowd a lot of the time,” Gary explains. “We’re a band who had a grassroots following and managed to compete on the level that our contemporaries were, not based on any sort of marketing, but just because we had a hardcore fanbase.” Growing up attending independent punk gigs in and around Wakefield, the Jarmans formed a strong DIY resolve. “We were small town kids, y’know? We didn’t get that many shows,” Gary recalls. “If any band came in getting complacent because it was a small town or a small audience, to us kids that was the only time we’d ever experience them, so we’d go away with a bad opinion,” he gripes. “There’s never an excuse to not be as good as you can be on any night is how we see it.”
Dissatisfied and ambitious, The Cribs have always strived to give their all in all that they do. Inspired by the DIY ethos of the punk gigs from their youth, the siblings established their ambition to give back to the scene that nurtured them by putting on shows in their studio in Wakefield. “We always had that desire. If we felt like there wasn’t much going on, we used to be the kind of people who were proactive in trying to make stuff happen.” Now the DIY music scene is thriving, but that doesn’t stop the band from continuing to push themselves to the limit. “You could go to a gig in Leeds or Wakefield or wherever most weeks if you wanted!” Gary exclaims. “There’s so many great shows that come through Leeds that we felt like if we put something on then we want it to be really special.”
It’s not just playing live that’s getting the group excited this summer: with a bit of luck, there’ll soon be some new music on the way. “We have a real desire and determination to make a record,” Gary teases. Rest assured, the process is already in motion. “We’ve been really prolific recently. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on,” he reveals. “We’re pretty desperate to get back in the studio at this point.” Having already done a number of sessions together in Portland earlier this year, the three couldn’t be keener to get recording underway. “I’m ready to go in the studio tomorrow if we could get in,” Gary laughs. “The thrill is in creating. It’s exciting to get new stuff out. We’re in that frame of mind.”
What can people expect from The Cribs’ new music? “We’re the sort of people who grew up listening to heavy, hard edged punk rock music,” Gary hints. “I think that we’ve always wanted to make a record that really embraces that. Then once we’ve been doing that for a while we get a bit fed up. So we’ve been writing some other stuff.” From raw punk to power rock, the group are quick to admit that they’ve “always had two sides” to their creativity. “Some of the stuff that we’re writing is really heavy, and really dirty, and really riffy. I’m really excited about that. It’s really primal. Then we’re writing some other stuff which actually sounds like really old school Cribs, first album kind of stuff.”