SKINNY LISTER + THE WOOD BURNING SAVAGES + TRAPPER SCHOEPP – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 28.02.19
Uplifting London six-piece Skinny Lister were back in the city, (having previously played at The Haunt on Wednesday 10th May 2017) at the very start of their ‘The Story Is…’ UK tour. The tour takes in 7 UK dates up until 9th March, when they head off into Europe for 15 dates, only to return back home in April for a further 6 more dates.
Skinny Lister formed in 2009 and the current personnel are Lorna Thomas (lead vocals), Daniel Heptinstall (lead vocals, guitar) , Maxwell Thomas (vocals, melodeon, mandolin) Scott Milsom (vocals, double bass, bass guitar), Sam Brace (vocals guitar, concertina, mandolin) and Thom Mills (drums).
The band were very excited to be playing Brighton as their brand new album ‘The Story Is…’ was coming out on Xtra Mile Recordings in just a few hours time, although us lucky punters could snap up yellow vinyl copies a day early. This is the band’s fourth album, with the previous releases being ‘Forge & Flagon’ (2013), ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ ( 2015) and ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ (2016).
A loosely-based concept album, ‘The Story Is…’ anthologises a series of personal vignettes inspired by a chaotic few years for the band and binds them into 14 tracks of unmistakably Skinny-sounding rock’n’roll. Gather-in close and lend your ears as Skinny Lister rifle through ‘The Story Is…’ and pull out: scorched stories of aggravated arsonists (‘Artist Arsonist’), rib-tickling tales of regretful re-fuellings (‘Diesel Vehicle’), and even polemic pleas inspired by some of life’s hardest lessons (‘Stop & Breathe’).
The band have also just released their first single of 2019. It’s titled ‘My Distraction’ and you can watch the video HERE.
Skinny’s Dan and Lorna say: “My Distraction’ is about being so obsessed with something that everything else falls by the wayside. When only one thing is in focus and everything else is merely background noise. Even though written initially with broader meaning, the lyrics are particularly fitting for our current fixation with modern technology and, even more particularly, our tethering of ourselves to our smartphones.”
With one of the most reputable live shows in the business, it’s no wonder that Skinny Lister have performed at so many music festivals in their time, offering up a rum-soaked good old knees-up. Tonight indeed was no exception with the Lorna returning back on stage after a costume change and handing out a flagon (of rum punch?) into the crowd during ‘Bold As Brass’, in order to get them going even more. Indeed Lorna was ‘bold as brass’ in wearing her Dorothy Wizard Of Oz outfit.
Seems it worked a treat, as the punters were jumping and bouncing and waving their hands in the air all the way through Skinny’s 25 song carnival of excess-fuelled punk-folk shanties. Yep, 25 little beauties! The mixed aged crowd were elated and behaving themselves and thus it had that party vibe with no menace.
At times, members of the band came and joined the elated force, with Lorna (who reminded me of sugar-coated Cyndi Lauper, vocally and in stature) getting the ball rolling as early as track number eight ‘Geordie Lad’.
Skinny Lister are a fun polished band who offer many playful sea shanty sounds and whose material is comparable to JoBoxers (‘My Distraction’), Dexys Midnight Runners meets Madness (‘Tragedy In A Minor’), The Pogues (‘If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down’ – surely a candidate for a UK Christmas No.1 single), T. Rex ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ meets Blondie (‘My Life, My Architecture’), Matilda’s Scoundrels (‘Forty Pound Wedding’), Joe Jackson (‘Artist Arsonist’), The Jam (‘Thing Like That’ and ‘Trouble On Oxford Street’), and The Clash (‘Wanted’).
They have a country music element, as well as old time army battle songs, there’s do-si-do, and there’s Cornish fisherman’s tales. See what I mean by listening to and ordering your copy of ‘The Story Is…’ HERE.
Tonight’s Skinny Lister setlist reads:
‘38 Minutes’ (taken from ‘The Story Is…’ 2019 album)
‘My Distraction’ (taken from ‘The Story Is…’ 2019 album)
‘Tragedy In A Minor’ (taken from ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ 2016 album)
‘If The Gaff Don’t Let Us Down’ (taken from ‘Forge & Flagon’ 2013 album)
‘What Can I Say’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘Rattle & Roar’ (taken from ‘The Story Is…’ 2019 album)
‘My Life, My Architecture’ (taken from ‘The Story Is…’ 2019 album)
‘Geordie Lad’ (taken from ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ 2016 album)
‘Cathy’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘Forty Pound Wedding’ (taken from ‘Forge & Flagon’ 2013 album)
‘Colours’ (taken from ‘Forge & Flagon’ 2013 album)
‘George’s Glass’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘Second Amendment’ (taken from ‘The Story Is…’ 2019 album)
‘Bold As Brass’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘John Kanaka’ (taken from ‘Forge & Flagon’ 2013 album)
‘Rollin’ Over’ (taken from ‘Forge & Flagon’ 2013 album)
‘Hamburg Drunk’ (taken from ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ 2016 album)
‘Artist Arsonist’ (taken from ‘The Story Is…’ 2019 album)
‘Thing Like That’ (taken from ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ – Deluxe Edition 2017 album)
‘Bonny Away’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘This Is War’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘Trouble On Oxford Street’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘Raise A Wreck’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
‘Wanted’ (taken from ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ 2016 album)
‘Six Whiskies’ (taken from ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’ 2015 album)
The main support act this evening was The Wood Burning Savages who are a latter day punk style rock band from Derry City, Northern Ireland.
The quartet are Paul Connolly (vocals/guitar), Daniel Acheson (bass), Michael Woods (guitar) and Elliot Finlay (drums) and as is often the case with Irish punk bands, the lads wear their rebel spirit of their hometown on their sleeves. So we inevitably get the lads working class political messages of how the Tories are treating the downtrodden masses delivered during their Concorde 2 set. It’s in their blood you see, Stiff Little Fingers, The Outcasts, Rudi et al.
The longer their nine song set went on for tonight, the better with each tune they got! Both myself and my colleague enjoyed their pulsating riffs of their tunes with virtually every song being found on their debut album entitled ‘Stability’, which saw the light of day last April and which can be purchased HERE.
Frontman Paul Connolly describes ‘Stability’ as:- “A collection of songs about a working class furious at years of empty promises from billionaire Tory MPs who have no insight into everyday life. It’s an album about how these empty promises lead to empty factories and fill job centres with disillusioned people stuck in a cycle of patronising and humiliating Steps To Work schemes”.
Connolly added that “Living in a small town with very little chance of steady income, with one of the highest suicide rates in Western Europe, with an absent Northern Irish government assembly, the state of mental health in Derry is at a perilous ebb and countless men and women take their lives each year in our city by jumping from either of the two large bridges that connect the city”.
So there you have it. This is where the lads are coming at you from with their gritty frenetic live shows, with their compositions being delivered to you, often at breakneck speed, and thus giving the youth of today a chance to be recognised and heard.
Tonight’s The Wood Burning Savages setlist reads:
‘We Love You’
‘I Don’t Know Why I Do It To Myself’
‘Freedom Of Movement’
‘Lather, Rinse, Repeat’
‘Thoughts Of You’
The first act up on stage this evening was Trapper Schoepp who hails from Wisconsin’s largest city Milwaukee. Although it was a drab rainy evening in Brighton, Trapper pointed out that he has just come from home, where the temperatures back in the States were in the region of -50 degrees centigrade, so Brighton was luxury to him.
Trapper, who has Swedish ancestry, released his current album ‘Primetime Illusion’ on 25th January. This recording came about as I guess that he was writing his way out of a rut as recent events hadn’t really be going his way. He had split with his longtime partner, been all but forced out of his longtime home and band clubhouse by a new landlord, and worst of all, painfully re-herniated a disc in his back that had plagued him for years. The lad was down on his luck and the new album was his perfect therapy. His friends had pooled together and got him a hundred year old baby grand piano which Trapper taught himself to play. Then Trapper discovered Bob Dylan and that was it!
In my notes that I made during his performance I had written “influenced by Bob Dylan”, and then when carrying out some research for this article I discovered that this was bang on the money!
So fans of Bob Dylan, should look into listening or possibly watching Trapper perform live as they will get a buzz from his enthusiasm and guitar, mouth organ and vocal style.
Tonight’s Trapper Schoepp setlist reads:
‘What You Do To Her’
‘Run, Engine, Run’
‘Settlin’ Or Sleepin’ Around’
‘Ballad Of Olof Johnson’
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