Skint & Demoralised charmed the Upstairs at the Garage
On a Tuesday night in February with temperatures below freezing, the impressive turnout for Skint & Demoralised’s half hour slot in The Garage was a sure indication of their loyal following. Playing just eight songs, most of which off their new album This Sporting Life, lead singer Matt Abbott charmed the crowd so much, that the thought of the cold journey home was the last thing on their minds.
The band started with the most upbeat songs from the new album, Maybe You Are After All and Maria, Full of Grace – reminiscent of the high pitched guitar and tightly packed compositions that defined their debut record Love and Other Catastrophes.
After these, Abbott had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand and it seemed almost too easy for him to launch into a hard lined poem, entitled Nazis on the Doorstep, which he wrote about the BNP’s dominance in his homeland, Yorkshire. It is interesting that this was met with rapturous applause. Rather than an appreciation of the poem’s complexity in form and rhythm, it was Abbott’s honesty, likeability and, dare I say it, Northern wit, which was the sure fire key to the audience’s affirmative reaction.
The hit of the night was undoubtedly All The Rest Is Propaganda – soon to be released as the band’s next single. Unlike Abbott’s previous inclination for political rabble rousing, this song was written about his personal experience of falling in love. “I like to sing about the every day things each one of us experiences”, Abbott muses. “I often write blatant political songs which miss the mark and sound a bit rubbish – it’s always better to write about what you know.” In this sense it’s clear to see why he cites the romantic ruminations of Morrissey and Billy Bragg as a huge influence on his song writing.
The potential of Skint & Demoralised should not be underestimated. Abbott has a stage persona akin to a beat-poet-cum-performance-artist, which has to be seen to be believed. Their new album does not exactly constitute “easy listening” but it seems that the majority of their songs rely on the familiar guitar riff that is increasingly becoming a character trait. While there is nothing wrong with this, their live performance demonstrated that the room for manoeuvre is immeasurable.
Photos: Damian De La Ferra
After the concert, The Upcoming caught up with Matt Abbott
Hi Matt, how do you feel after the concert?
Brilliant! It’s great that people in London are paying attention. We’re getting really positive feedback about the new album, so that’s always a plus.
What do you want to convey with your music?
Honesty, mainly. I find it weird that people see our music as ‘political’ when most of what I write about is the every day things like being in a relationship or going out with your mates. Sometimes there are political themes in the songs I write, but at the end of the day, it’s always best to come back to what you’re familiar with.
Poetry is a key element of your live set. How do you feel about the response?
It’s been really positive. Before I started playing music, I was writing poetry, so it’s been great to incorporate something that’s played such a major part of my life into the stuff I’m doing now.
What’s your favourite track on the album?
Our new single All The Rest is Propaganda. It’s quite a special song for me because it’s about my personal experience of pursuing a girl for ages, and the feeling that comes when it all works out.
What’s your favourite band right now?
A Norwich based band called The Kabeedies. They sound a bit like Vampire Weekend, while at the same time having quite a distinct English sound.
So what are your plans for the next few months?
Carry on with what we’re doing now basically – playing live, plugging our new album as much as possible and having a good time!
Thank you to Matt from Skint and Demoralised!