Life on Tour: An Evening with The Cribs

December 16, 2009

Pat Graham is a professional photographer who lives in London. He has spent the last 20 years working primarily as a music photographer, traveling the world with touring bands. Pat continues to tour, documenting musicians, as well as shooting for commercial clients. In England, Pat saw how rowdy a show by The Cribs can get.

On the first day of the last Cribs tour I was on, I took the train down to Southampton from London. Of course it was dark, and raining. I had about 50 pounds worth of cameras on my back as I arrived at the Southampton Train Station. I knew the venue was close to the station so I headed for the town center. Walking up the hill the rain seemed to be coming at me sideways. Soaked through to my skin, I was hoping my camera had not suffered the same fate.

I found the venue in no time, but it looked dour. The rain didn’t help, and I couldn’t help but think that my shots would be vanilla. To my surprise the hall opened into a sprawling ballroom, draped in red carpets likely unmoved since the seventies. The dim lights made me imagine that some kid would turn a corner and scream RedRum! It was just this epic open space from another era. I could picture in my head people dancing and having a great time here.


While the band sound checked, I explored and took some photos of the space.


Later that night The Cribs took the stage to a very hyped-up crowd; feet were flying and people were dancing as they tend to do. Ryan egged them on from the stage as he tends to do. I got caught up in trying to capture all this and get my technical stuff down so I could get the best shot.

The Cribs lighting guy was doing some crazy stuff. There were strobes firing off so brightly that midnight could have passed for noon. I managed to get a shot of Ryan just as he jumped off a stack of amps as the strobes lights blasted out. I couldn’t even tell if I got anything until a few minutes later. The show ended as all Cribs shows end, with a ton of energy and no encore. Who needs an encore when the performance rocks so hard?


I followed the band back stage and for the next few hours we hung out and talked about the night and got caught up. Bus call was at 3 am so we had plenty of time to linger. At around 1, we made our way from back stage through to the bus.

So now we walked back through, the venue, suddenly empty and quiet and eerie again. It was strange, seeing the change from a room rammed with sweaty people going mad, to one littered with trash, cups and clothes. It was like a fun bomb exploded.


The amount of shoes mixed in with the trash was really surprising. All I could think of was all these kids walking home in the rain with just one shoe on. I guess they had so much fun it didn’t matter and the after show adrenaline caused them to not even bother to try and find the missing shoe. This all just reaffirmed my feeling that the Cribs are a great band. If you ever see them, be sure to tie some double knots in your Chucks, or you might lose your kicks.


PS: Pat’s first book of photography, ‘Silent Pictures,’ was released through NYC’s Akashic Books and can be ordered from His second book, ‘Instrument,’ is being published by Chronicle Books and is due for release in Spring 2011.

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