I first saw Skinny Lister live last year in Llandudno supporting Frank Turner, I had only recently at that time listened to the bands newly released second album ‘Down On Depford Broadway’ but was already very much enamoured by their passion for what they do, a passion that comes across in their songs and I was to find out, even more so in their live performances. They blew me away that day with their set and I was a total convert to the church of Skinny Lister. Fast forward to 2016, they’ve done it again, with bells on!
This tour in support of their newly released third album ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight, succeeded in selling out the majority of the venues booked. The show I attended at the modestly sized Ruby Lounge in central Manchester was one of those sell out dates. The atmosphere in the venue in the build up to Skinny Lister taking the stage was electric, just walking around the venue and overhearing people enthuse about this band lets you know just how special they are to the assembled crowd. People are swapping tales of Skinny shows past and waxing lyrical about the new album, it really did give the gig the air of a community coming together as contrived and corny as that may sound.
Skinny Lister took to the stage to rowdy cheers from the crowd and burst straight into an energised performance of ‘Wanted’ from their new album and it’s clear from the response that is it going to be a live favourite for the future. The tempo doesn’t really let up for the next few songs, visiting ‘If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down’ & ‘Tragedy In A Minor’ respectively and whipping their audience up into a frenzy. Over the course of the show the band pay visits to all of their 3 albums, dropping in crowd favourites such as ‘George’s Glass’, ‘John Kanaka’ & ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’ in amongst new album tracks such as ‘Charlie’, ‘The Devil In Me’, an impromptu & apt double bass crowd surf from Michael Camino during ‘Carry’ and vocalist Lorna Thomas surfing into the pit during ‘Geordie Lad’ and venturing out again during ‘Seventeen Summers’ from debut album ‘Forge & Flagon’, it’s the kinda thing that makes gigs like this truly memorable. There was a few issues with a presumably dodgy D.I input to frontman Dan Heptinstall’s guitar which were quickly fixed, other than this the nights sound was pretty spot on. The band manage to fit in a lot of songs into their set, keeping the crowd jumping and singing along to every word, finishing up with a boozy singalong rendition of ‘Six Whiskies’.
It is very clear from this show that Skinny Lister have become absolute masters of the live performance, start off strong with a newie, hit them up with some fan faves, take the tempo down a notch with a slower number, it is absolute text book showmanship beautifully executed.
It was awesome to get to see Skinny Lister in such an intimate setting because I don’t think they are going to be playing venues this size for much longer If this gig was anything to go by, this band are going to have a very good year. They are off to the US after this British jaunt and supporting the mighty Dropkick Murphy’s on a European tour in the new year, they are certainly going to be busy. Skinny Lister are without doubt one of the strongest live acts I have seen come out of this country in years and one of the most enjoyable to watch.