The Skints

Petroc, Barnstaple on Saturday 30 November 2013

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The Skints have spent the years since their inception working hard; touring, writing and developing, and gradually ascending festival line-ups and radio playlists. Now firmly established in the reggae and punk listeners community their style has tipped in the balance of reggae and it's associated styles. The momentum is gathering and they appear to be teetering on the edge of well earned mainstream success so it seems unlikely that they will grace sleepy North Devon on a Saturday night but I pinch myself and it's true.

Ambling onto the stage at Barnstaple's Petroc and I wonder if they can see beyond the lights that the venue is less than two thirds full which surely doesn't happen to them too often these days. If they are indeed bothered by this then it doesn't show and tonight they certainly are looking like the the complete package, well presented and relaxed they hail the cheering crowd and open with 'Rise Up' ,their ready made intro from their second album 'Part & Parcel.'

The Skints

Dripping with passionate energy feet are immediately stepping in time and bodies rocking back and forth. Joshua Waters Rudge out lovable cockney wide-boy guitarist complains about the void between stage and crowd and elicits extra noise from the crowd to bridge it. Rudge has the ability to amp the audience into a frenzy of jumping, jostling and cheering as he bounces around the stage with energy and purpose. He seems to relish every second of the performance and his classic ska-esque vocal style suggests a place in the lineage of UK's fine ska vocalists. It doesn't stop with Rudge though, as unlike many bands The Skints have been blessed with 3 fine vocalists all capable of holding centre stage in their own rights but sharing the limelight and feeding off each other. A celebration of egos in balance perhaps and a sign that The Skints have so many avenues to explore in the future.

So let talk about the the other members as they seem to warrant individual mention. On stage Jonathon Doyle is the bass player representation of a cloning experiment between Happy Monday's groover Bez and a rooster – chest puffed out, hypnotically stepping back and forth in his own rhythmical salsa, looking solid and confident, as too are his bass-lines. Faultless in his live delivery he is in spinal vertebrae of a very large creature and he is bearing it's weight perfectly.

Marcia Richards smiles sweetly as ever whilst she sings her heart out adding an important feminine content to the tracks, but not satisfied with tapping the keys, a Skints gig will undoubtedly see her shift from; melodica, to guitar, sax and sometimes flute. This alone has helped the Skints developed a rich, rounded sound and allows future explorations into the use of those instruments. The version of Katy B's 'On a Mission' in which she sings is a true crowd pleaser and has become an integral part of The Skints recent sets.

The Skints

Jamie Kyriakidies could easily be over-looked sitting in the back at the drums but aside from his beat perfect drumming and expressive fills he possesses a remarkable classic reggae singing voice which evokes images of true Jamaican greats like Gregory Isaacs and Horace Andy. Ever soulful, he and Richards are a perfect compliment to each other.

Most of the evening's songs are about the Part and Parcel album but The Skints love a cover version so in addition to Katy B we get a Black Flag number and a rendition of 'Stop That Train' made famous by Keith & Tex. (although the internet has marvellous versions of Seal's Kiss from a Rose and The Smith 'The Charming Man' and more to delight fans too).

As far as the repertoire goes, the band are on stage for less than an hour, ending on the blistering, energy filled 'Culture Vulture.' I've definitely seen them play for almost two hours before, so it it's a little disappointing, but we console ourselves with the fact that we received quality, but maybe a couple more tracks next time guys?

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article by: Richard Potter

photos by: Richard Potter

published: 03/12/2013 09:39


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