Words & photographs by Gary O'Dea
It was the launch night for SKEWWHIFF of their excellent second album ‘Cancelled Rearranged’ in their hometown of Worcester, with their Special Guest - punk poet rabble rouser - Attila The Stockbroker opening proceedings up. It was battering down with rain outside, but this didn’t deter a hardy Worcestershire crowd in gathering in The Marrs Bar to pay homage to what has to be one of the best live bands around the Midlands music scene for the past 5 years.
But first of all, we had the Brighton Bard Attila whose passionate firebrand street punk filled rapping was the perfect ‘fire starter’ for the evenings delights. His wonderful put down of Roger Daltrey’s Brexit rantings and how out of touch he was to the bureaucratic minefield and costs facing small independent bands and labels looking at putting together European dates in the coming melee, was received with a hearty cheer from the rapidly filling up Marrs Bar crowd. It’s called ‘Talkin’ bout My Generation, Who?’ and is delivered in low-fi style to a reggae backbeat off his mobile phone over the mic... wonderful!
SKEWWHIFF took to the stage to rapturous applause and cheers from their disciples... and launched straight in to the opening song off the new album 1942 (which was also the time the doors opened on the night) that includes the subtle line ‘I’m not pretty, but I’m vacant’ caressing the song to a close.
No standing around looking cool posing from this crowd, just unadulterated dancing from the off... with Attila down the front cutting a rug as well. It was the album launch night, but lots of the crowd new the words to the new songs and the band more or less followed the track list on the new album. The title track ‘Cancelled Rearranged’ is a stunner on the affects of mental illness on a society whose need for care for the illness is more than often insufficient. Other notables to these ears were Rita, Oh No and Sammy Tones.
The band are a really tight unit and nail this performance expertly. Lead Vocalist Hannah Bean has a control over her vocal delivery that is up there with the best, she weaves the lyrics perfectly over the staccato riffing / lead guitar stabs of Mark Hogan and it’s all anchored along to a great rhythm section of bass player Sam Griffin and drummer Steve Glazzard (who within about 4 songs is soon stripped to the waist and pulling some real drummer gurning faces like only drummers that mean what they’re playing can).
On completing the run through of songs from the new album, the crowd are demanding tunes from their classic debut album ‘Nice Little Upper’ from 2014 (why this wasn’t a massive success for them is beyond me... but reflects on the lack of vision and taste in todays ‘music biz’). ‘Gizmo’ starts this section of the set off with its almost cute ‘poptastic’ overtones... basically pop music at its kitchen sink drama best. This is followed by another Skewwhiffed punk/pop classic ‘Startrite’ and Hannah ‘doin’ it and sortin’ it and havin’ it and havin’ fun’.
Taking the night to its crescendo and the tribal ‘woah oh woah oh woah yer’ sing a long line of ‘Skiddadle’ has the place rocking. We are then treated to a ripping version of the Au Pairs classic ‘It’s Obvious’ as an encore... it had been a perfectly executed set of songs by a band who are at that stage of performance where it looks almost effortless. It was a pleasure to be there.
The crowd called out for more, then gathered around the merchandise stall to plunder the goodies... the new album is a brilliant bit of work and adds to a glowing song base... treat yourselves to a copy and catch them live soon. Worcester has a new source/sauce of spicy flavourings for your musical taste.