As a rule, especially now I’m fast approaching mid-thirties-dom, I generally try to avoid Monday night gigs – they tend to set a precedent of low energy and enhanced apathy for the rest of the week. But last Monday, I decided to make an exception for my favourite sibling punk-rock trio, Skating Polly. And I’m extremely glad I did.
Kicking off the two-band line up at Bethnal Green’s Sebright Arms are GIHE faves The Menstrual Cramps. Delivering their topical tongue-in-cheek wit and immense, politically-charged force, they succeed in astounding the crowd. With their refreshingly uncensored, genuine passion, they seem to have refined their seething set even since I last saw them play for us a couple of months back; they’re a band who are now more relevant and necessary than ever before, continuing to refine their musical prowess to blast their message into our ears.
Marking themselves out as favourites when we caught them a couple of years back, putting on an immense live set at The Lock Tavern, Skating Polly‘s Kelli and Peyton have since recruited brother Kurtis on drums, to create an even bigger, high-octane sound. Delivering their trademark combination of honey-sweet melodies with gritty, whirring hooks, 2016’s ‘Pretective Boy’ starts the set. And immediately they draw in the packed out venue with their immense buoyant energy and understated subtle power.
Although I had been blown away seeing Kelli and Peyton as a duo, with the added volume of one extra person, they’re able to blast into the eardrums with a fuller, all-encompassing sound that hits you with a sublime force from the start. And it doesn’t make it any less impressive or immersive either; the two front women continue to swap vocal responsibilities and instruments throughout the set, with Peyton and Kurtis swapping roles for one song too. Skating Polly are a band who continue to keep us on our toes, showcasing their exciting, multi-faceted sound and unique, impassioned stage presence.
Treating us to an eclectic mix of songs new and old, each and every moment of this jam-packed set is full of raw emotion, with this band’s intense snarling energy and ferocious vocal delivery blowing me away throughout. From new tracks such as ‘Free Will At Ease’ (inspired by a “shitty ex boyfriend”) and the seething grunge-fuelled power of ‘Camelot’, to 2016’s ‘Perfume For Now’ (about a guy who accused Kelli of being a creep when she was just 13) and the immense grit of ‘Stop Digging’, each and every offering is an exciting, intoxicating sonic delight.
Fiercely staring into the crowd and shouting “throw your mother-fucking hands up!”, Kelli tops things off by launching into the sweaty (and incredibly smelly!) sea of fans for an epic surf, bass and all. A glorious end to a glorious night of live music. Once again marking themselves out as going against the grain, Skating Polly deliver an empowering sentiment, uniting anyone who doesn’t want to coincide with the confines of society’s limitations.
Definitely worth venturing out on a Monday for; far from apathetic and energy-less, the night leaves me feeling motivated and refreshed, having been in the presence of such formidable women in music.