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The Streets gig review

Simon Binns witnesses Mike Skinner’s frantic farewell at the Academy

Written by . Published on March 4th 2011.


The Streets gig review

So this is goodbye. And it’s absolute chaos.

Mike Skinner is retiring The Streets and last night’s gig at the Academy was the final time he’ll play Manchester. So it’s a good job he decided to throw everything but the kitchen sink at it.

Once settled, Skinner decided to change into suit and tie and surf the crowd twice from back to front. “I want the first time to be mellow. The second time, you can beat the shit out of me.”

‘Original Pirate Material’ will forever be the soundtrack to my messy twenties, and it still sounds as fresh as it did on its release ten years ago.

His latest offering, ‘Computers and Blues’, seems to have had the same effect on the youth of today; this was no nostalgia trip – the teeming young crowd proved the band are still current. Poppy and playful, the album brings The Streets full circle and gave them more than enough for a storming hour and a half set.

Opening up with the first track from ‘C&D’, ‘Outside Inside’ then ‘Don’t Mug Yourself’ and ‘Let’s Push Things Forward’ (‘Let’s put on our classics and have a little dance, shall we?’), Skinner and his band fizzed with energy. “Are you with me Manchester? Can you see me? We want to stay alive but you can kill me if you like.”

Backed by able vocals from rapper Kevin Mark Trail and The Music’s Rob Harvey, Skinner’s engaging stage presence makes him hard not to like.

Once settled, Skinner decided to change into a suit and tie and surf the crowd twice from back to front. “I want the first time to be mellow. The second time, you can beat the shit out of me.”

He dips the pace with ‘We Can Never Be Friends’, ‘OMG’ and ‘It’s Too Late’ before getting the crowd to sit on the floor, before bouncing up again.

“This is the last time we’ll go low Manchester. Everybody has to do this.” They do. Skinner congratulates the crowd for being “the most on trend of the tour.”

The new album has been given a mixed reception but sounded great live. ‘Soldiers’ was a set highlight, as the pace picked up momentarily and grown men waved their trainers in the air, but Skinner was always going to throw in the goodbye tunes.

‘Never Went to Church’ and ‘Dry Your Eyes’ (a song I’ve never liked to be honest) cleared the path for man hugs between shaven headed blokes who’d usually consider such a thing as a bit gay. Don’t worry about the geezers though; they just need excitement.“You have to walk away now, it’s OVER!” shouts Kevin. Although it’s not, of course.

The encore opens with the first track from the first album and still the standard bearer for Skinner’s lo-fi garage sound, ‘Turn The Page’, before cutting into the frantic ‘Fit But You Know It’ (remember that?) and ending with a rampaging version of the almost heavy metal-esque ‘Going Through Hell’.

“You, long-haired gentlemen in the crowd,” shouts Skinner, pointing. “Show the people what a circle pit looks like. Children and women need to get out of the way. You will die.”

Harvey runs around the stage topless like early prison Charlie Bronson, while Skinner and Trail say their goodbyes to fans at the front before leaving “to find some cheap drugs.”

A storming end to a decade-long party.

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bielzebubMarch 8th 2011.

Storming gig, it was fantastic. Though poor Skinner bust his shoulder and had paramedics backstage before heading off to Big Hands with his arm in a sling!!

YawmeisterMarch 9th 2011.

Saw the streets in Birmingham, being from Manchester I have to say was a completely different gig. I agree with the above saying Manchester was amazingly more stylish. But mike skinner and band made the gig out of this world. I don't understand what goes into the effort of a night like this but he was completely outstanding and made us realise what a true genius he is/was! Xxx

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