By Molly Freedenberg
Sure, British threesome the Cribs are pure indie rock. The boys’ striped shirts and messy haircuts won’t let anyone forget. But the danceable melodies, interesting arrangements, and sing-a-long hooks appear to be catapulting them into pop scene stardom (not to mention backing from Franz Ferdinand and a spot on the Coachella Music Festival roster). At least, that’s what I would’ve assumed before I saw them play before a disappointing crowd at the Independent last Wednesday, April 25.
Indie of all stripes. Photo by Molly Freedenberg.
Maybe the Cribs' local fans were planning to see them in Indio a few days later. Maybe others missing the festival were drawn to see Coachella artists DJ Shadow or the Decemberists instead, who were both playing in the Bay Area on the same night as the Cribs. Or maybe I saw them in San Francisco before their time, like catching Amy Winehouse last year.
Whatever it was, the dance floor was noticeably empty – and its few occupants were noticeably unenthusiastic – as the band “oh, oh, oh, oh”-ed through "Martell" (from 2005’s The New Fellas) and their guitars noodled through "Men’s Needs" (from the Alex Kapranos-produced new album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever).
And so the concert that was meant to minimize my Coachella envy – as this was the first in four years I haven’t attended the beast in the desert – instead only heightened it. Because as I hungrily devoured concert coverage (particularly NME’s) on Monday, I could only imagine what it would’ve been like to see the normally cute and compelling (but here, a bit bored) Cribs with a crowd full of people who actually cared. Sigh. Maybe next year.