Last night was one of the most hyped UK buzz shows in the past few months here in NYC. With a lineup featuring Nine Black Alps, Hard-Fi and The Cribs, the Mercury Lounge was the place to be. It has been a while since I have seen a line that long to just get in to the Mercury Lounge, so I must tip my cap to all three of these bands for generating a large amount of interest in their music.
First up was Nine Black Alps, sounding like a combination of Stereophonics and Nirvana. I guess they could be classified as grunge-pop, or perhaps Brit-grunge. Regardless of how you choose to label them, they kicked the night off in style with such great tunes as “Cosmopolitan” and “Shot Down”. For some reason the sound during their set wasn’t quite right, but the group still made a lasting impression on this music snob.
I stepped out during Sam Champion for a quick break from the cramped venue, so the next act I saw take the stage was the uber-hyped group Hard-Fi. The first several rows of concertgoers were having a mighty good time, getting their dance on while singing along with every tune. They included the dub-tastic single “Cash Machine”, complete with frontman Richard Archer rocking the harmonium. Those who were unfamiliar with Hard-Fi’s own tunes couldn’t help but get their groove on to their unique rendition of White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”.
Next up was the highlight of the evening with a storming performance from The Cribs. This Wakefield trio kicked off with their current single “Hey Scenesters”, quickly sending the sweaty crowd into a frenzy. Within the first thirty seconds of their set, singer/guitarist Ryan Jarman’s lower lip was bleeding, smearing from his cheek down to his chin. Now this is fucking rock & roll! When I met the Jarman brothers earlier yesterday, they were polite, cool and pleasant chaps. On stage The Cribs are a whole different animal, becoming everything I expect from a damn good rock band. They are a little rowdy, a bit noisy, with just enough banter to keep things moving between tunes.
It is nearly impossible to not become a fan after seeing The Cribs live. These three fellas put 100% into their show. During their infectious song “Mirror Kissers”, drummer Ross ended the song standing up while still beating the hell out of his kit, kick drum and all. The set ended with ‘The Wrong Way To Be”, featuring dueling vocals between brothers Ryan and Gary. Ryan slammed an entire bottle of Bud in mere seconds, with beer spewing down to his guitar. Their amps were cranked to 11, the noise was glorious, and my ears are still ringing. I admire any band for not giving a shit about trends and appearances. All this band cares about is making amazing rock & roll. When we all left the Mercury Lounge last night, exhausted and soaked, all we could think about was when we would get another opportunity to see this brilliant band live again. Yes, they fucking rule.