I first heard Nick Parker’s ‘Down With The Yoof’ on Fresh On The Net’s Listening Post. Most weekends, I really enjoy taking a listen to the 25 or so new tracks that appear on there and voting for my five favourites. It’s a great way to discover new, upcoming acts.
Sometimes, bands that I’ve voted for will get in touch with me by E-mail, thanking me for the support I’ve shown or kind words I’ve written. Nick Parker did just that and offered to send me his forthcoming CD, Besta Venya. I’d enjoyed the humorous story-telling in ‘Down With The Yoof’ so much, a tale of a Dad trying to remain cool and failing badly as he traipses around charity shops in pursuit of that double denim look, that I jumped at the opportunity.
The CD promptly arrived – and with it came Nick’s brief biography. I was drawn to one line in it.
“Glastonbury based Nick Parker started gigging in his early teens playing mandolin and singing in folk/rock/skiffle band ‘Why?’, and spent the next 10 years bouncing around on stages at hundreds of venues and festivals around the UK and Europe.”
So Nick had once been a member of Why?. Why could I remember their name? What was it about the band Why? that rang my bells?
(Click onto page 2 as my brain becomes less addled)
I had to get away from the fortress. The exuberant house music was playing havoc with my head. People that I’d never seen before were smiling as if they were long lost friends. Perhaps they were long lost friends. I doubted it.
I walked towards the main stage. The relentless beat in the heat was stifling these dancing feet to a walking pace. Skinny Lister were about to come on the stage. I’d seen them before. A bit of folk was surely what I now needed to recharge my batteries. I could sip at a pint of cider whilst chilling on the grass.
Little did I know.
Skinny Lister became my favourite festival band that day. There’s something contagious about their enthusiastic, inclusive approach. You might watch them from a distance when they take to the stage but, by the end, you can’t help but be immersed in the throng they create. Here’s what I said about their gig at Beat-Herder:-
“Skinny Lister on the Saturday afternoon are a case in point. Their well-rehearsed folky festival set doesn’t fail to get the skin blistering as those that are assembled work up a sweat with their energetic bouncy dancing. The flagon of rum that gets passed amongst the crowd is communally quaffed by thirsty onlookers. Laura Thomas takes a break from her vocal duties and waltzes with the audience. People wake from an afternoon slumber to find a double bass being plucked next to their heads. This is how Mumford and Sons should be.”
I saw them twice last year at different festivals. After both sets, I walked away beaming. Hangovers from a previous day of drinking were forgotten about. It was time to get back on it.
Skinny Lister are building up to the release of a new album, Down On Deptford Broadway, in April. They’ve pre-released two tracks from it although these are folky-punk lunges that live show regulars might already be familiar with. Singer Dan says about latest single, Cathy, that ‘It’s an ode to addiction and recklessness. A declaration of desire for something or someone you know is bad for you. The classic wrestle between head and heart.’
Previous single release, ‘Trouble On Oxford Street’, had an accompanying video full of beer and rebellion to entertain us.
It might be grey and dismal outside but I can sense festival fields not far in the distance. This makes me smile.