Skinner Makes Himself at Home ; Pop ++ THE STREETS ++ Fat Sam's DUNDEE

By Pollock, David | The Independent (London, England), July 3, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Skinner Makes Himself at Home ; Pop ++ THE STREETS ++ Fat Sam's DUNDEE


Pollock, David, The Independent (London, England)


In undertaking this five-date, Scotland-only club tour, Mike Skinner is offering further evidence of a fact that should be entirely apparent - that he is, more so than any other artist in Britain today, a pop star of the people.

Appearing at a Dundee venue that more regularly functions as an inexclusive nightclub, Skinner seems to be among his own folk. Far removed from the large halls and festival stages that The Streets' current fame demands, the spit and sawdust atmosphere of Fat Sam's is one in which Skinner evidently thrives. At the door girls talk loudly about having tracked down the rapper's local hotel, while - as he and his band bound onstage - well-oiled boys with more hair product than courtesy launch their beers over the crowd.

As regular viewers of Skinner's highly amusing YouTube "television channel" Beat Stevie might have noticed, this tour (Edinburgh and Glasgow followed after this show) is equally debauched and verging on the lairy. Some miles removed from his Birmingham roots and current London-centric fame, the whole exercise still seems like a spiritual homecoming.

It's also an excuse for Skinner to promote his record label The Beats - the jaunt is actually supertitled The Beats Tour - although the presence on the bill of his friends and regular allies Example and The Mitchell Brothers (no relation to the EastEnders characters; rather, a pair of black Londoners in pork pie hats) serves more as a warm-up than part of the main event.

No, it's Skinner's presence that has drawn a tightly packed capacity crowd of a few hundred, and his efforts to promote the undoubted talents appearing with him can't obscure the fact that he is the original and the very best of his own particular genre.

Throughout the night, he demonstrates this time and again. His songs, the more well-known among them having reached the stage of modern pop classics, never fail to excite with their energy, intelligence and humour. His growing rapport with the boisterous audience is effortless - this despite his being showered with beer every few minutes - and the live versions of his songs are peppered with intensely clued-up pop-cultural references.

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