The Skints at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
“It’s an honour to be here” announces Joshua Waters Rudge, guitarist of The Skints, and it’s clear the sentiment is genuine. A band that started off as a group of East London punks, playing in squats and social centres in Walthamstow and Leyton, are now some of the brightest stars of the UK reggae scene, performing before a packed out – and very excitable – audience in the prestigious Shepherd’s Bush Empire. This is the final night of a tour to celebrate their latest album FM, and it is the perfect gig to end on. Ably supported by the fantastic Hollie Cook – a “tropical pop” prodigy, ex-Slits member and daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook – The Skints are here to get the crowd moving, and boy do they move. Evidently, it is possible to start a mosh-pit at a reggae gig.
The set consists of songs spanning their ten-year career, the grungy punk-reggae of first album Live. Breathe. Build. Believe., the more streamlined dub of Part and Parcel and – proving it can hold its weight with the classics – several tracks from their latest effort, many of which see the band joined by crowd favourite Horseman, reggae royalty Tippa Irie and grime MC Rival. These guest performances are the icing on what is already a perfect musical cake, the keys and flutes of Marcia Richards, Joshua Waters Rudge’s guitar, Jamie Kyriakides’ drumming and the almost inhumanly sexy bass courtesy of Jon Doyle, with all but Doyle providing the hypnotic vocals.
There is plenty here to keep even the most cynical of music-goers happy, the grimy hip-hop of Eyes In The Back Of My Head, the joyous African-pop polyrhythms of Got No Say and the sinister groove of fan-favourite Mindless, marking The Skints out as a band unique in their ability to incorporate such a wide variety of influences. This may have been a highlight of their career so far, but the boundless energy and musical capability of their set suggests that this is just a stepping stone on their journey to even greater heights.
For further information about The Skints and future events, visit here.