Music Blog: January '18

This image: The Cribs

Jordan Worland, from local music website Slate the Disco, selects his must-see gigs in Cambridge during January

Happy New Year! There’s plenty going on in the Cambridge live music scene this month to encourage you out of that post-Christmas slump.

Our top Cambridge Junction pick this month is The Cribs show on the 10th. Hailing from Wakefield, Yorkshire, The Cribs are twins Gary and Ryan Jarman and their younger brother, Ross. The trio began playing together at an early age, debuting at a family party in the late 80s when twins Gary and Ryan were nine years old and Ross was just five. The brothers grew up with similar musical tastes, blending quintessentially British influences like The Beatles, Sex Pistols and The Smiths with American indie rock like Beat Happening and Bobby Conn.

They were subsequently joined by ex-The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who joined the band for three years in 2008. 2017 saw The Cribs celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the band’s much-lauded third album Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, which saw them headline their largest show to date at Leeds First Direct Arena. Not ones to sit around and revel in nostalgia though, 2017 also saw The Cribs release their 24-7 Rock Star Shit album. The record marked a return to the band’s early roots with its raw, ‘rough around the edges’ approach and a good punch of sonic aggression.

Over the last ten years and three albums, This Is The Kit – the musical project fronted by exceptional Paris-via-Bristol songwriter Kate Stables – have earned the adoration of peers including Guy Garvey, The National and Sharon Van Etten. Their fourth album, released in July last year through Rough Trade, was Moonshine Freeze: undoubtedly their most compelling and accomplished to date. Kate and co bring the mesmerising record to the Cambridge Junction on the 26th.  

“In a massive coup, Green Mind have snagged the booking of Hot Snakes"

The J2 venue at the Cambridge Junction has a couple of shows we reckon are well worth attending this month too. Firstly on the 20th is Martyn Joseph, a guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style and boasts a powerful showstopper of a voice that has led him to be dubbed ‘The Welsh Springsteen’. There are also shades of John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews in Joseph’s music but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives.

Secondly, on the 30th, is Martin Carr, the former songwriter, guitarist and creative force behind The Boo Radleys and Brave Captain. The Boo Radleys mastermind returned with a suave, sophisticated, rhythmically robust solo pop record in October, New Shapes of Life, his third solo output. After a period of writing songs for popstars, Carr (right) was jolted into action after the death of David Bowie, realising how important it was to take his art seriously, resulting in a record that marks a new era for a wonderful songwriter. 

Fast-rising saucy warbler Isaac Gracie plays The Portland on the 27th. The 23-year-old London-raised singer-songwriter sent the music industry into a fever with his debut track Last Words — a song so finely wrought, so tenderly poetic, as to mark him out as one of Britain’s brightest young things. Since then Gracie has performed at both Glastonbury and Latitude, opened for Michael Kiwanuka on his tour last year and spent weeks last autumn nestled happily on the Radio 1 playlist. With a debut album firmly in the pipeline, the show on the 27th is a great chance to catch Gracie before he becomes a household name. 

This image: Hot Snakes

In a massive, massive coup for the city, Green Mind Gigs have gone and snagged the booking of Hot Snakes, who play The Portland Arms on the 31st. Featuring Drive Like Jehu’s John Reis, this critically acclaimed post-hardcore band have released three full-length studio records, a live album and even a Peel session since their formation in 1999. The band return to the UK to exhibit their own blend of raucous garage punk for the first time in years. 

We end with a shout-out to a show happening on the 1 February, a show so good we don’t want you to miss out on booking a ticket. The feedback-strafed, guitar-shredding INHEAVEN make Pixies styled, riotous, anthemic and bristling pop music. They released their debut album last year to a flurry of praise which cemented them as one of the most exciting emerging bands around. This Portland Arms gig will be their first headline appearance in Cambridge having previously opened for Circa Waves at Cambridge Junction last year.