SKATERSI Love Live Events @ Parr Street Studio2 10/5/16
Big Apple residents SKATERS are a band who are more than the sum of their parts. Guitarist Josh Hubbard started life as axeman for Hull’s finest early noughties export The Paddingtons, while frontman Michael Ian Cummings’ former life was given to Bostonian indie types The Dead Trees, a band who rattled few cages this side of the Atlantic but are well worth looking up. Skaters announced themselves with a superb debut album back in 2014 which was criminally overlooked. Manhattan is peppered with indie rock anthems which may owe a debt to NYC forebears The Strokes but hold their own as hooky, expertly written gems.
Two years later, the four-piece return to these parts with a new line-up and a point to prove. Cummings now sports a guitar instead of only a look of malice and jaded attitude. Another former Paddington, Stu Bevan, has taken up bass duties but the core members of Hubbard and drummer Noah Rubin remain. They are a unit who are obviously happy in their own skin, exchanging jokes throughout. Dressed like the cast of Micheal Keaton classic Dream Team (what do you mean you haven’t seen it?), but somehow making it look cool, Skaters appear to have quietly achieved cult status in Liverpool. Set opener Mental Case gets bodies swaying and the young crowd obviously need no convincing.
There are obvious tensions between band and sound tech tonight, tensions that are possibly heightened when the band jettison the stage and play in amongst the crowd for several numbers – but such animosity cannot dampen the atmosphere at Studio 2. Every word of single I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How) is sang back to the band and Hubbard declares it the best version the band have ever performed. The band seem to be revisiting 50s rock n roll in some of the newer songs but it’s done through the prism of a New Wave aesthetic which bodes well for a second album. Schemers could be a bona fide indie disco floorfiller, if any DJ had actually heard it. Upon its release tonight it gets the respect it deserves, played with studied abandon and lapped up by the crowd. The band sheepishly ask the waning tech if they can play an encore, and a cover of Nirvana’s Territorial Pissings is decided upon when the thumbs up is given. Some of Kurt Cobain’s favourite bands were only discovered by a wider public through his championing; it seems Skaters may need a similar advocate to reach the audience they deserve.