One of the surprise joys of lockdown was the emergence of sea shanties which, with the help of the TikTok generation, went viral. Skinny Lister invited The Longest Johns on their current UK tour and the gig in Glasgow at King Tuts was as raucous as you would expect. The added ingredient was the fact it was singer Lorna’s birthday and of course this Glasgow crowd was always going to sing ‘Happy Birthday’!
The Longest Johns opened the gig with a more traditional round of sea shanties. This is music to put a grin on your face and to warm your heart. Full of humour, great banter and the most divine harmonies it was pure joy.
And then the fireball of energy that is Skinny Lister lept onto the stage. Stomping music from albums old and new. The current album is A Matter of Life and Love and new tracks were sprinkled throughout the gig. Arguably the best song live is ‘Damn the Amsterdam‘ which was recorded with The Longest Johns so they joined Skinny Lister onstage. This is the sort of music you don’t have to know in advance to enjoy the gig. Having said that there were plenty in the crowd who sang every word to every song, and the band were loving it. They expressed how good it was to be back onstage and thanked the Glasgow crowd on numerous occasions.
The performance was breathaking! I have no idea how they did not crash into each other but to see the double-bass suddenly appear at our side of the stage, Lorna dancing with so much energy and the tempo of the music it was all so good for the soul. Handing out rum to the audience was also a very welcome way to warm the soul! Crowd favourites ‘Rollin Over‘ ‘Shout It Out‘ and ‘Like its the First Time‘ were electrifying, but it was ‘John Kanaka‘ when the roof of King Tuts came off. Audience participation at its finest. The main set ended with ‘Oxford Street‘ one of the tracks from the 2015 breakthrough album Down on Deptford Broadway. Towards the end the merch stand worker was asked to come onstage and then crowd surf back to his spot. This set was heading for 90mins which was fantastic for gig goers. But Skinny Lister were not done yet. They came back on stage and another couple of tracks rounded off what had been a joyous, blistering, heart-warming, stomping gig.
Photo credit: Julia Mason