The Skinny Lister circus rolls back through Manchester as the band are back in the UK on yet another sold out tour. They’ve been around the world and back again but this time they’re playing some of their biggest headline shows of their career as their avid following continues to grow ever stronger on the back of their latest release ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’.

With new stories to tell their third release gave the band a chance to experiment with their style and what came out was a sleek contemporary sounding record which still had the unique whiskey flavoured Skinny Lister stamp on it, which is a great way to appeal to a wider audience and as the Gorilla in Manchester is filled wall to wall, you’d have to say that it has worked.

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As the band walk on to the stage, they’re greeted by a raucous cheer from a Mancunian crowd on the start of a bank holiday weekend and with that in mind, a crowd like this could be the most fun or nightmarish to play to but thankfully the band are the perfect party hosts as they kicked off proceedings with the high energy and up beat track ‘Wanted’.

The band are in fine form as they take the crowds energy to almost breaking point as they rifle through a back catalogue of their folk-punk fused sea shanties such as ‘This Is War’, ‘Trouble On Oxford Street’ & ‘John Kanaka’, all of which had the crowds arms up and the ceiling coming down!

With lead singer Dan’s well crafted stories taking on a whole new life with the barking back up vocals provided by Maxwell and sister, Lorna dancing around the stage with the sole purpose of having fun and only stopping as she wades into the crowd for a drunken shuffle, a ride on a strangers shoulders or to pass the rum filled flagon amongst her new found friends.

As impressive as it would be to see the band keep up such a high octane performance there are some more sullen and tender moments with the sway and soulful ‘Colours’, ‘Seventeen Summers’ and ‘Fair Winds & Following Seas’ turns the crowd into a sea of limbs as they wave their arms back and forth.

Never one to rest on their laurels the band took the opportunity to introduce new music to their ever growing following and debuted new song, ‘Thing Like That’ which upon first listen seems to be inspired by what’s happening in the world, as a band they’re more accustomed to writing songs that are based on personal experience so it’ll be interesting to see if this direction continues as more new music will surely be on the horizon.

As the bands set appears to be coming to an end they leave the stage to refill their beer or flagon supply, wipe the sweat from their brow and give the crowd a three song encore which included an all together sing a long to thumping anthem ‘Beat It From The Chest’, one last jig to the delightfully up tempo ‘Hamburg Drunk’ and then finally, ‘Six Whiskies’ a song you’d imagine could close any bar or pud leaving punters with a smile on their face.

This band have always carried a uniqueness with them but their hard working ethic and blue collar values shine through as they continuously work towards spreading their joyful music to as many as people as possible. It’s always a community gathering at a Skinny Lister show, there’s not a stranger in the room and they promote good vibes and good times, get a damn whiskey in and dance until you’re drenched because if you’re leaving a Skinny Lister gig without the look of a having a great night, you’d have to ask yourself, did you even go?

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