April 28 2017
Tours across North America, Europe and beyond is all part and parcel of being the hardest working band on the road. Their ‘On Tour Always’ slogan is no idle boast as Skinny Lister returned to Manchester with their raucous shanty punk to tick off another of the city’s venues.
It’s a list that seems to be ever growing – having encountered the Skinnies in the tiny upstairs room at The King’s Head, The Academy with The Levellers and recent trips to the Ruby Lounge and Deaf Institute, they are working their way round all parts of the city whether it’s headlining or supporting. Slowly but more important steadily, and even more important, the following is building. There was even the “Who saw us opening for Boy George across the road?” (at The Ritz – one some may have forgotten about/missed). Their current UK jaunt has eight of the ten dates sold out –bigger venues might be needed to host the Skinny Lister whirlwind.
They may have enlivened many a festival and blown away the cobwebs on many an ancient folky, but they’re at their finest in the intimately packed and sweaty club venues where they can see the whites of your eyes and don’t have to decant their flagon of rum into a plastic container for health and safety reasons.
With their logo-ed drape covering the usual Gorilla backdrop of electronic machine casings, it took less than half an hour before Lorna Thomas was in the crowd, on someone’s shoulders leading the interaction. She may appear an incongruence in her Laura Ashley style dresses but with Devil In Me, she’s had the tribute of the Lorna’s Hammer cocktail, inspired by the bucket list ticking video – check it out. There’s also much more to The Skinnies than barroom bluster and boisterousness. Sam Brace’s electric guitar constantly cascades with tumbles of notes which complement the usual rambunctiousness of the guitar / mandolin / melodeon combo.
At twenty plus songs based round the bulk of the last album The Devil The Heart & The Fight, there’s also the bonus of them road testing a new song with typically Skinny lines – “Listen to yourself you’re talking crap, Why d’you wanna go and do a thing like that” – more of the same? Don’t mind if I do. While they may present a riotous front, they still have things like Bonny and the sadly missing Carry to shift them towards what would be the anthemic cigarette lighter/mobile phone moments in a rock gig.
Topped off with a popular choice in support from AJJ complete with sing-alongs and calls back for an encore, at the end of the day there’s no such thing as a bad night out with Skinny Lister.
The Skinny Lister website
All words and live photography by Mike Ainscoe. You can find more of Mike’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive. He can be found on Facebook and his website is www.michaelainscoephotography.co.uk