Of course we had tickets for the Skinny Machines, they are after all one of my favourite bands. They are just back from their European tour, taking them to Germany, Switzerland and Austria, you Brits are not the only ones loving this band!
This gig was organised by Glasswerks, I hadn’t heard them mentioned for a while, but a couple of years back I had won Madness tickets for Earl Court through them, to this day I’m still talking about that gig, it was so much fun!
It is also a new venue for me, I have not been Upstairs at the Garage, it will be interesting to see what it is like, I’ve seen the queues and got confused with which is which…. :-), but I know now and won’t be queueing in the wrong one again!

We just arrived, and as we came out of the tube station, Highbury & Islington, we saw the Skinny’s walking past heading straight to the Italian restaurant, La Pasta I think, just opposite the beautiful old front of the original Highbury Station.
We nip down to Sainbury’s and grab something to eat ourselves, and then in the queue. One girl, Sue,  is already there, we have seen her a few times before, so we finally start talking and are making friends :-). Sue tells us that she has seen Jonny Ross before and that he has an amazing voice, in return we tell her that we had seen Silver Box before, they were good but a bit too much for our taste.
We spot The Skinny’s in the window of the restaurant and give them a wave….awww, they waved back! 🙂
A few people have now joined us in the queue, and it is finally time to be let in! A steep staircase leads upstairs (it must be fun to get the instruments up there), a small box office on the left side, names ticked off, in we go. wow, what a cute place, roughly about the same size as the Hoxton Hall, a tiny bar at the opposite end of the stage, we get a drink and hang around close to the stage of course. Somehow we got chatting to a man standing behind us, it transpires it is in fact Jonny Ross’s Dad, he ask if we had seen Jonny before, as we hadn’t he ask us to give him some feedback afterwards. He is one very proud dad! 🙂 A tap on the shoulder, and I see Laura had arrived too, it’s nice to get to know the Skindys, after all we have the love of the music in common.

A good looking young man comes on stage, it is Jonny Ross, a bar stool, acoustic guitar and he is ready! Once he starts singing you hooked, what an amazing voice, omg, here is a young man with real potential. He is chatty, charming and funny between songs, some people here have obviously seen him before and know some of his songs. I’m not familiar with his songs yet, but I guess He played the ones from his EP, I think one was called ” Sinner”, trust me, next time I see him I will be familiar with his music. He also performed a couple of covers, Skunk Anansie‘s “weak” and a song from Temple of the Dog, both are difficult to do in an acoustic set.  I’m really really liking him! After his set I turn round to his Dad and tell him exactly what I thought of him, oh yes, he is proud, especially as the voice coach from X Factor Antonio Reid, he was assigned to the boys categories, had come to see him. I was too late to catch a photo when he went up to the stage to speak to Jonny, I got him chatting to Jonny’s Mum I believe instead. I believe there will be great things in store for this young man.

Next up are the Silver Box, when we saw them last time, they were supporting the Suburbians at their Album launch, I wasn’t that impressed, it seemed to me they were trying too hard! But, you never know, today they may just be reeling me in. They obviously had their own little following here, as suddenly a few people pushed into the front, mainly young girls, I guess the Lead singer John Wyse has got the rock star image, I may just be too old in the tooth for it to work on me… 😉
It looks as so they were being filmed today, a hive of activity was going on, we stepped back a couple of paces, knowing they were going to be loud anyway. I did wonder how it was all going to work on that tiny stage….but we will see!
Once everything was in place they came on, John was loud and brash, which is fine for the front man, but why did he wear a woolly jumper? It was pretty hot as it is without jumping about. The music started, and yes, it was loud, and yes, I feel John is doing his rock star front man act. One of the girls is running about moving glasses of water, and at some point she needs to push the speaker back onto the stage as it got nearly pushed off. A lot of people are enjoying their set, but it doesn’t do much for me. But that is ok, it would be boring if we all liked the same things. John stripped off his jumper half way through, displaying a rather nice physique, so all wasn’t  lost ;-). Silver Box, you not to my taste, but I think you could go some way, you are cheeky and loud and dare I say it? …..sexy!!
Good luck.

Yay, next up is what we have been waiting for, the Silver Box crowd moves back and we Skindys move closer, it’s going to be so good!! Once the stage is sorted and we are waiting for the boys to come on stage you can feel the excitement rising, we just want them NOW ! At last, here they are, we, the home crowd are cheering and clapping, welcoming them home and it is obvious they are enjoying the attention, and so they should. The first song “babies on the brain” is followed by “wrong side of the river”, most people are joining in meanwhile, singing and dancing. Jim is doing a fantastic  front man job, interacting with the other band members, more with Mike today then Rikki, he is flirting with the crowd, encourages people to clap and sing. Jim has made the Skinny Machines his own, he has taken control of his place in the band, delivering the “old” Skinny songs perfectly with a large dose of Jim Stapley mixed in, absolutely fantastic. It is obvious that all the band member have a good relationship with each other, they just getting better and better every time I see them. I love the way Jim sings ” wrong side of the river”, I love “pleasure seeker” and “dog house”…and of course their cover of “crazy” is just the best!  Jim was really working the crowd, looking straight into the cameras when they were pointed at him, making eye contact with people, that never fails to make you feel special. Again, the set is over far too soon :-(, the boys go off stage, and we all know they’ll be back for the encore. so we just stand and wait! I can see Jim opening the door at the back of the venue, looking out and shutting it again, he does that a couple of times, pulling faces…….eventually they come back on stage and he addresses the crowed: “Let me explain something to you!! You ask us to come back for more with loads of noise and clapping, not the other way round….”…..he is right of course!!! He asks what song they should play, we are shouting “crazy”, this cover is becoming an absolute favorite with the fans, I would go as far as calling it one of their trademark tracks, they really have taken ownership of that song.All too soon it’s all over, I grab a set list, and Ella who was doing a lot of filming grabs another, Laura is looking around a little disappointed to have missed out on a set list again, I see one by the drums, point it out to her and she get it! Yes, we are all happy!!!
It doesn’t take long for the Skinny’s to come and mingle with crowd, we manage to have photo’s taken with Rikki and Jim, quick word with Mike and Dan, I actually spoke Swiss German to Dan, but he simply answered in Swiss German, maybe it just seemed normal to him…lol! It happens to me sometimes, no matter if I’m spoken to in German or English, because I understand it I don’t register which language it is! ;-), so much for being clever…lol.
I also go and buy the EP featuring Jim Stapley and of course a badge for my bag!
The Skinny Machines playing again on the 4th May at the 229 Club, and guess what, we already have tickets! We are taking Martina along, she needs to become a Skindy too……hehhehe

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About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

One response »

  1. Martina Weidmann says:

    Ohhhh i am a skindy now….Great ! Want to read more !

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