One of the best live acts this country has to offer is Skinny Lister, and they’re currently touring their exciting set around The UK and Europe and a new album The Story Is. Brighton was the first stop on the tour at Concorde 2 on 28 February 2019. I had waited two years to see this damn fine band play again. It was well worth the wait!
Skinny Lister are not your average, modern day, gentrified English folk group. Fronted by Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas; a vocalist with a lusty cackle and flirtatious presence, the London based six-piece hail from across England. Borrowing the nickname from the Lister family, pioneers in the use of anesthetic, the band have grown naturally and organically over the past few years. Yorkshire born songwriter Heptinstall, Lorna’s older brother Max, and long-time shanty singer Sam ‘Mule’ Brace, met some time ago at a folk club in London’s Greenwich area. The arrival of Scott Milsom on bass, and Thom Mills on drums, and the naturally exuberant Lorna lifted them into another realm.
Up on their stomping feet and clicking their heels, the Skinny Lister sound took hold as Dan’s perceptive ballads and folkie idylls were boosted by an eruption of a rambunctious free spirited rum fueled party music. Soon the Skinny Lister sound was charging down the nation’s canals and waterways, bursting into spontaneous song in pubs and clubs, kicking up a summer frenzy at numerous festivals. Tonight Brighton saw the return of Skinny Lister!
Lorna Thomas . Daniel Heptinstall . Maxwell Thomas . Scott Milsom . Thom Mills . Sam Brace
Lorna and Dan take up center stage…
Sam and Max – guitars, vocals, squeeze box and more…
Scott on bass and double bass Thom on drums…
SKINNY LISTER: THE SET
The crowd gatherered in Concorde 2 for this one. It was a school night. A rather damp Thursday evening saw the return of Skinny Lister to Brighton. The last time they played here they kicked up a storm in The Haunt, but tonight it was Concorde 2 with a bigger stage and a much, much bigger sound. Brighton was the first stop on the new UK and Europe tour for the band and coincides with the release of a new album (which is pretty tasty) called The Story Is.
The band took to the stage to a massive roar from the crowd in Concorde 2. No hanging about tonight, we were straight into 38 Minutes, a single release and a track from the new album. One song in and the crowd were hooked. The exuberance from the band couldn’t help but pull you in. They looked excited to be on stage on the first night of the tour. And we were ready. Come on Skinny Lister, lets go!
Next up we had another new one, My Distraction and then, from their last album, Devil/Heart/Fight, was Tragedy In A Minor. What a start. A show from these guys simply is a production like no other. A Skinny Lister show is a one bristling with energy and a touch of riot, a dash of punk edged folk, and topped off with a layer of rock washed down with a swig of rum and good humour. Their sound and presence really does defy an accurate definitive description. Just go see them and find out for yourself. You’ll be hooked, like I was from the first time I saw them.
There are so many musicians on stage and with that comes a stage packed with various instruments. It was kinda busy up there! Skinny Lister have a back catalogue of great music and it was interesting to see what they were going to play for us tonight. We got If The Gaff Dont Let Us Down and What Can I say. Two great songs and it was clear Skinny Lister were going to put on a show made up of older material mixed in with some bang up to date new material.
The guys do not stop, ever. They move and dance across the entire stage and sometimes head off into the crowd. We had the double bass lifted high into the air, the huge flask of rum which Lorna asked me to pass out into the crowd, so many grabbing hands! I never saw the Flagon again! This was no H&S approved plastic replica controlled object, it was the real deal and heavy! Members of the band headed off into the crowd for a party, and we had bodies crowd surfing towards the stage. It only happens at a Skinny Lister gig. High spirits and great fun are sure to follow these guys.
Sam on fine vocal duties along with a plethora of instruments including a number of guitars, a squeeze box and I think a mandolin! Brilliant and he is such a great musician and always involved up there and also mixing it with the crowd.
Scott on his electric bass would switch to his double bass and created a powerful backing. At some points he would swing the bass high above his head, thankfully a well rehearsed move and no injuries were sustained.
And of course Thom at the back producing an awesome percussion display, and it was his birthday.
The set continued with a great mix of songs Geordie Lad, a favourite as the crowd sang loud, with passion, to every word of this track and then next was Cathy. A change of outfit for Lorna and Dan stripped down to his white vest. Lorna is a firecracker up there as she bounced around the stage, her skirt twirling as she went. At one point Lorna jumped the barrier and she was off into the crowd, up onto some fellas shoulders and she was carried around Concorde 2. Brilliant!
We then had Colours and George’s Glass. The crowd were now in full voice and joined in with every song. Me included! I had done my homework since last seeing them and I have to say here that there can be no such thing as a bad night out with the Skinny Lister guys. Tonight they were off the chart. John Kanaka was followed with Rolling Over and more top tunes including another new song Second Amendment. You could feel the guys building up for a finale as the dreaded clock ticked away.
The band continually stir their audience with shouts of Brighton! They take the party they brought to Brighton to a higher level with every song. They had everyone join in a crowd sing-along to John Kanaka, awesome to witness that. These guys really do have it all, emotive ballads, punk, stadium rock anthems and then you get a sea shanty such as Raise A Wreck. Bonny Away, Artist Arsonist indeed heralded the beginning of the end of the set.
A couple more crowd rousing numbers came at us Hamburg Drunk, War and the mighty Trouble On Oxford Street saw Sam pile into the crowd, guitar howling, surrounded by the crowd who joined him for this end to the night.
A few songs mixed in. Turn it up. Enjoy, and then go see the SKINNY LISTER guys live!
Skinny Lister are no doubt on fire right now, the new album on Xtra Mile records is pure class. These guys are without doubt at their best in a closely packed, hot and sweaty venue. They feed off the excitement they generate from their crowds and that in turn fuels everyone where ever they play. They really do want to see your faces, they want to see you sing, they want to see you sweat, and they want you to have a damned good time. Thank you Skinny Lister, we had a blast. This has got to be the feel good, downright good time had by all gig of the year so far. Please come back soon!
Huge thanks to Skinny Lister for letting me, and good to meet you. Thanks to Love Thy Neighbour, Sonic PR and the crew at Concorde 2
Skinny Lister are on Facebook
Skinny Lister on the web
Xtra Mile Recordings are on the web
The evening was hosted by Love Thy Neighbour, a Brighton-based promotions company & label / publishing company – who are on Facebook.
Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.
All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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