Skint and Demoralised: Live [Review]

A Northern poet first and foremost, the wheels of Matt Abbott's vehicle go round and round. Trebuchet Magazine reports on Skint and Demoralised live.

"If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees." – Khalil Gibran 

Skint and Demoralised are starting to reach that level where they're dropped into conversation with an arched eyebrow and lip protruding nod. They're being noticed, but the people are unsure. The songs are right, but there's something holding us back.

Standing in the small room of the Hoxton Underbelly Matt Abbott and crew managed to build a solid nodding set but it was hardly an earth shattering Tuesday night. The Johnny Marr guitars and nods to Morrissey seemed a bit too close in places for unalloyed appreciation. But we did anyway.

The more successful songs were typified by the twin guitar riffage, where interplayed melodies conjured some of the Marquee magic of television. Perhaps the most remarkable find of the evening was the bass player… heavy fluid lines that forced the band to stop stumbling and get strong.

where they reveal themselves is in what they reveal about others

The thing that will always elevate bands like Arctic Monkeys and Skint & Demoralised is that whether it's through storytelling or scattershot observations on a theme, where they reveal themselves is in what they reveal about others. What separates the latest rush of young poets is that they are angry at a time of great information, tectonic themes, and the commercialisation of resistance.

They are angry at a time when it's difficult to be ignorant or apathetic and when hegemonic globalism has made the minute local experience the same of people the world over. The closing of a Barnsley library echoes not just through England, America and their colonies but everywhere technology emboldens anti-social efficiency.  Skint and Demoralised brings these themes into the pop context working a double shift of anger and insight without using alienation as an attractor. It's catchy stuff and convincing.

The closing of a Barnsley library echoes not just through England

Watching the earnest band play through their set it becomes clear that while Abbott is eager to engage with the audience the rest of the band need to project a bit more. Whether they are or aren't bit players and talented sidemen, while relevant on record, doesn't really do the business live. Put simply, they need to express themselves.

In places, Skint and Demoralised demonstrated that they're a powerful unit capable of any stage, but in the main they plodded where they should've pushed. Off nights happen but bands shouldn't wait for the big gigs to let go and grab the crowd.

Live music is a physical act and if the words are about rebellion then the performance should crack the whip. Skint and Demoralised have the elements of something interesting, however they need to crank up the self-confident stage craft to reach the next level of audiences who don't already know the message.

Skint and Demoralised appeared on March 13th at Hoxton Underbelly

Kailas
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