As the six members of Skinny Lister cheerfully walked onstage, I quickly realized that this was going to be a memorable performance. The band was accompanied by a large ceramic flagon, marked with their stag logo, a black double bass with white text in a psychedelic font which read “this machine kills dubstep”, and an accordion.
Formed in London in 2009, Skinny Lister flawlessly blends the punk and folk genres. To date, they have released two studio albums (Forge & Flagon and Down on Deptford Broadway) and four Eps (Home Made Tour, Grand Union, Forty Pound Wedding, and On These Rotten Streets My Best Days Have Been Spent). In 2011, Skinny Lister was crowned “The Hardest Working Band in the UK” by PRS after playing more festivals than anyone else in the UK.
During their performance at House of Blues Anaheim, lead vocalist Lorna Thomas periodically left the stage to venture into the audience while the band continued performing. Thomas’ adventures into the crowd are one of the many characteristics which set Skinny Lister apart from any band I have seen prior. Thomas brought down the invisible barrier that often separates those in the crowd from those on the stage, which gave the show a much more intimate feel.
The first time Thomas left the stage, she warmed up the audience by passing around the flagon, which according to the band’s website contains rum – to attendees who were at least 21 years of age. Thomas made at least two additional trips into the crowd. Once to have her picture taken while being hoisted by the crowd, and the other to perform the Waltz while weaving through the crowd. Thomas was not the only member of Skinny Lister to get well acquainted with crowd, however. Double bass player Michael Camino spent some time crowd surfing, while continuing to play his double bass.
This was my first time seeing Skinny Lister, and I can’t wait for them to return! The band is full of energy, they sound great, and they are lots of fun to watch. If you are a fan of Frank Turner, do yourself a favor and check out Skinny Lister!
– Martin Shook
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All photos by: Martin Shook