A bond between brothers is special. Whether you consider it an unbreakable friendship or just always having someone to go for a beer with, there’s nothing quite like brotherhood. Some brothers fight, some brothers are inseparable and some brothers just happen to form a band that carve a new path for punk rock and redefine the sound of a generation. These brothers would be the Jarmans.
It’s a bitterly cold night in Newcastle and The Cribs are ready and raring to kick off their UK tour despite the pounding rain outside. Youngest brother Ross Jarman slouches casually in a cosy dressing room that smells distinctively of Pot Noodles before reeling off an eager run-down of what we can expect from them this time around.
“I’m excited to play all the new stuff because we haven’t really had the chance to play it yet. We’ve spent quite a few days rehearsing a load of B-sides for this tour as well and that’s been kind of fun for us. We’ve really revisited the archive and brushed up on a load of stuff. Some of the more hardcore Cribs fans will appreciate some B-sides, I think.”
As the only member of the band still living in their hometown of Wakefield, there’s been a lot of travelling for Ross during the build-up of their sixth album, ‘For All My Sisters’. His older twin brothers Gary and Ryan both live in the States – one on the east coast and one on the west – but he’s always been attached to home.
“I’m pretty grounded. I love Wakefield. I’ve got my roots down there, you know. We used to live together. It used to be like… What’s that TV show? The Brady Bunch! It was like the Brady Bunch. Obviously, as things have gone on there’s loads of space between us now. But we were in such close proximity for so many years. For brothers, we get on really well. We just know which buttons not to press and we’ve had lots of experience arguing and figuring out what not to say. If we want to say something, we say it, and it could be pretty messy but it’s such a waste of energy is arguing. We get on surprisingly well despite there being thousands of miles between us. ”
Ross deliberates between the new tracks before deciding ‘Pacific Time’ is his favourite.
“We’ve not played it live yet but we’re probably going to play it tonight. It’s one of them where it’s taken quite a bit of rehearsing because we didn’t know how it was going to translate live,” he says. “It’s nice to play different stuff. When you’ve done six albums, it’s quite easy to just write down all the singles and go up and play that but that’s not always fun for us. It’s about keeping a happy balance.”
Ross was only a teenager when The Cribs really took off in the early 2000s. Since then, their name has grown and grown. They’ve travelled the world, had three top-ten albums and even had a temporary fourth member in Johnny Marr.
“Working with Johnny was cool. It’s weird. I missed him for a while when he went. Me and Gary and Ryan had never had anyone in our little world with us before that. We still keep in touch and hang out occasionally,” he says. “I enjoyed that chapter of the band but I feel like The Cribs is kind of meant to be just the three of us. When you’ve seen somebody on the bus in their pyjamas he kind of doesn’t become Johnny Fuckin’ Marr anymore, he’s just Johnny, you know what I mean.”
The roar of support band Pulled Apart By Horses’ sound-check buzzes through the walls and Ross declares them one of his favourite bands at the moment. The sheer magnitude of this venue is a huge change from the dingy, sweaty club gigs the band is somewhat famous for.
“Playing those small venues, it is good fun, but I feel like we’ve done it quite a lot now, you know. You can sometimes sound pretty bad in a small venue but it doesn’t seem to matter in those situations. It’s kind of got to a point now where we feel we’re not really getting songs across exactly in smaller places. It’s really nice to be doing a tour like this again where we can come in and play stuff how we want it to sound and play through a proper PA. But it’s good to have the balance. Sometimes, when bands get to a certain level, they just don’t do any of that spontaneous stuff anymore.”
The O2 may be a pretty big venue, but the crowd at the show later were just as drunk and wild and unruly as you’d expect them to be at a small venue. The fact that it wasn’t quite as intimate didn’t seem to matter to them – everyone was having the time of their lives. I suppose this is the beauty of The Cribs. They’re versatile and fierce and the rush of their music is infectious wherever they’re playing. It may have been a rollercoaster ride to get to where they are today, but tonight The Cribs kicked off their UK tour triumphantly and proved why so many consider them the best live band of our generation.
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Cover photo by Renee Barrera