December 12, 2018
The Garage, London
“Look like you’re loving it!”
The crowd didn’t have to pretend to be having fun when it came to posing for a photo. They were still laughing from the first attempt, when Buster Shuffle’s singer Jet Baker had accidentally taken a video instead. More importantly, they were buzzing from a banging set of ska originals, interspersed with a cover probably older than any of the band members.
They’re clearly students of punk history and have taken up the mantle of political protest. As if her night couldn’t get any worse after going through a vote of no confidence, the crowd joyfully joined in with a song dedicated to Teresa May. Sample lyric: “You’re unbelievable/I don’t trust a word that you say.”
The energy never dropped as Baker flitted between instruments, gestured to the crowd and even played the keyboard with his feet. Between that were chorus heavy singalongs and false endings.
Skinny Lister certainly do have a knack of choosing a good support band. This lot were remniscent of Holy Moly and The Crackers in vibe.
Skinny Lister’s holiday party is fast becoming one of the highlights of the year, let alone Christmas. In 2017, we, they and Beans on Toast shook KOKO. The year before was this venue and this crowd (more or less).
So, time for a rematch! Could they top those shows? In a word, yes. The riotous reception for 38 Minutes, a relatively new song from an album that wasn’t even out yet, was proof that everyone was ready to party hard.
There is no other way with a Skinny Lister show, really. The band attacks each show; hair, limbs, Lorna and instruments go flying. Even the double bass is held high.
The handful of new songs proved they would fit easily into the Skinny Lister catalogue. Second Amendment was a downtuned ska-influenced song with contemporary references to Californian wildfires and U.S. gun ownership culture. Singer Dan Heptinstall’s brief satisfied smile as the final chords rang out on their new single was soon explained – it was the first time they’d played the song live.
From the new to the old, with If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down, a fan favourite they’ve been playing since their earliest concerts.
Long-standing traditions appeared too: two flagons were passed round. The same rules applied for shared unspecified alcohol as for good advice: “Have a sip, don’t be a dick, pass it on.”
Another welcome tradition surfaced when Beans on Toast made a cameo appearance to sing their Christmas duet and generally have a laugh.
With all this, it was shaping up to be the show of the year. The deal was sealed in the encore when a bubble machine and an Elvis impersonator turned up! What a show!!
If you’re quick, you might just get to experience a Skinny Lister show for yourself. They’re returning to London on April 11 (The Electric Ballroom in Camden), then after a U.S. tour they’ll be back for a handful of Ireland and Europe dates in June. Click here for details.
Skinny Lister’s album The Story Is is out now! You can buy it on CD, vinyl or mp3 by clicking on the image below. At no additional cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you!