At just past 1 o' clock, 50 people were gathered in Kerrang! Radio's Birmingham studio, having won a competition (we had to guess what song was played backwards, and it was, as it always is, Men's Needs.) 'Johnny Marrman and the Jarmans' took to the tiny tiny stage to a wave of cheers from a mixed crowd - some of us were Cribs fans, and others generic competition winners.
The setlist was short and sweet. The brothers Jarman and their esteemed colleague kicked off with excellent We Were Aborted, the first song they ever wrote together. The second song was We Share The Same Skies, a rather tender track (for the Jarmans) with added Marr twinkle. Hari Kari was next, another faster number, and then City Of Bugs, a track with lots of distortion that sounds a little like Be Safe from the third album Men's Needs, Women's Needs Whatever (2007), minus Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth, who guested on Be Safe). Finally, they ended with current single, and probably weakest track, Cheat On Me.
The playing was a Hell of a lot less shambolic than I expected; I think Johnny keeps the band together musically, and adds depth and shine that covers up the Jarmans' sometimes messy playing styles. The atmosphere was unusual with there being only 50 people, but not bad. The band spoke a few times, once to say they'd been out in Birmingham the night before, so it was 'too early' for them, and once to sardonically say we'd probably all illegally downloaded these 'unheard tracks' anyway.
Afterwards, they signed and chatted and took photographs with friendliness. Ross was talkative, Johnny Marr was highly sought after for signatures, and the twins differed considerably in the strength of their handshakes. I asked Johnny "Do you sign things you weren't on", producing The Cribs album, to which he replied "Yeah, if it's good I'll sign it. The Beatles, Nirvana...". Gary (looking tanned and a little exceptional) mentioned my Sonic Youth shirt, at which I remarked I loved Lee on Be Safe. Ryan signed The Cribs and told me it was 'well old school', and then I got the photo below. Very very nice day.