Skint & Demoralised

Monto Water Rats, London on Thu 18th Jun 2009

Poetry is in vogue - the BBC is currently presenting a poetry season with the help of various celebrities, including Alex James and Cerys Matthews, newspapers are running articles on young poets and beatboxing, and the Poetry Society has just held the first SLAMbassadors UK final.

Skint & Demoralised

The chap we're here to see tonight, Matt Abbott, is absolutely passionate about poetry and one of his main influences is Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet. Abbott hails from near Wakefield in Yorkshire, now relocated to London, and performs as Skint & Demoralised which is a collaboration between himself and the elusive songwriter producer MiNI dOG, whose identity was a mystery until recently (he's Sheffield musician David Gledhill). The result is energetic, rhythmic spoken word set to poppy, Northern Soul-inspired tunes.

This Water Rats show is a celebration, it being their 50th gig, so i's disappointing that the venue is only half full and surprising considering that Skint & Demoralised's recent single 'This Song is Definitely Not About You' had a fair bit of airplay, though the subject of the song is still a closely guarded secret, and the next release, the irresistible 'Red Lipstick' is also being heard on the radio.

There is a band accompanying Abbott tonight – drums, guitar and bass – as well as a backing track featuring melodic female vocals and danceable beats. He opens the set with a short punchy poem about those fiddling MPs and throughout the show the songs are interspersed with unaccompanied poems. Abbott paces the stage and gestures constantly to accentuate the spoken words (which are almost sung on a couple of songs). He tells us that, "being a Yorkshireman, it's quite strange having emotions." His are clearly on display in the honest prose and the subject material of love and politics.

There's an amusing poem about following Cheryl Cole on Twitter, and 'You Probably Don't Even Realise When You Do the Things I Love the Most' is introduced as a love ballad and dedicated to an embarrassed couple in the audience. This is followed by a bitter poem about a critic called Tim who’d compared Skint & Demoralised, in a review, to a northern version of Scouting for Girls, which clearly has mentally scarred him!

Many of the words and themes of the songs are coloured by his home county. 'Only Lust' is about being beaten up which apparently happens quite regularly in Wakefield and 'A Few Quiet Drinks' about how a couple of beers always turns out to be a massive bender. Later on in the set there is a ranty poem directed at the BNP, which has become more topical due to the recent European elections where they won a seat in Yorkshire, a fact that Abbott says he's ashamed of. The poem is an examination of a typical "British night out" – Irish pub, Belgian beer, Turkish kebab, German cab...

They finish with a summery 'Red Lipstick', the next single due out in July which the crowd jig along to, with an impossibly catchy chorus of "... she likes red lipstick, fish and chips, orange juice, and trips to the seaside."

Skint & Demoralised

Abbott is keen to take the stigma out of poetry and tonight has succeeded in presenting the spoken word as a vibrant and vital art form with infectious good humour and enthusiasm.

Skint and Demoralised's debut album 'Love and Other Catastrophes' is due out on 5th October and they're playing a number of festivals over the summer, including Latitude, Leeds and Reading, and Bestival.

Set List
Poem about MPs
Three More Days
It's Only Been a Week
Poem about Twitter
Let's Get Lost
This Song is Definitely Not About You
You Probably Don't Even Realise When You Do the Things I Love the Most
Poem about Review by Tim
Only Lust Ignores Violence Involving Ambulances
A Few Quiet Drinks
Poem about a British Night Out
Red Lipstick

article by: Helen O'Sullivan

photos by: Helen O'Sullivan

published: 22/06/2009 09:52


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