O2 Academy, 21/1/19
The thuds of ‘Turn The Page’ are in sync with the stage lights, and the crowd joins in while Mike Skinner returns to the stage as The Streets as emphatically as ever. This follows into the reggae infused ‘Let’s Push Things Forward’ in which the tempo accelerates to the point that it’s impossible to sing-a-long and Skinner shouts that tonight’s mission is to make the gig feel like a Friday and not a Monday night; and also to make it the after party as “Sub Club don’t want us!”
This is objectively Subby’s loss as the night powers through Skinner’s most euphoric hits, encouraging a mosh pit that takes up over half of the standing space to emerge throughout. Skinner stands on a speaker, shirtless, addressing those in the front saying he wished he was able to crowd surf, but the last time he did he dislocated his shoulder. My initial reaction to this was ‘fair enough’, assuming this had happened on a previous tour. But no, a video he posted online shows his shoulder being lodged back in only two nights before. Knowing this it’s hard to fault his prowess as a front man.
Throughout the night, Skinner remains engaging as the live show is very much just an extension of why everyone here already loves The Streets. Skinner’s celebration of the mediocre and mundane is no clearer laid out than in ‘Fit But You Know It’; the setting of which is kebab shops and greasy spoon cafes. There’s an unmistakable sense of Britishness with The Streets (and if you know me how unlikely I am to use that term in a positive way), but Skinner mocks the tropes in his lyrics instead of just using them as a narrative.
Furthermore, the ability to showcase and revel in vulnerability is seen from Skinner throughout the night, but most expectedly on ‘Dry Your Eyes’, their most seminal mainstream hit. The concluding hits of the night are ‘Weak Become Heroes’ merged seamlessly into ‘Blinded By The Lights’, both of which are still (over 15 years later) so poignant, and perfectly balance this weight of uncertainty and insecurity with euphoria to be found in everyday trials and tribulations.
[Stacey Anderson – @staceyanders0n]
[Image credit: Danny Payne]