3 December, O2 Academy Oxford
Skinny Lister don’t just put on a show. They put on a night.
Opening with ‘Wanted’, they bring a raucous and energetic set to Oxford, peppered with sweat, drink and singalong.
Max Thomas (melodeon) is quick to catch attention, galloping back and forth across the stage, making me smile. Guitarist and lead vocalist Dan Heptinstall – while as animated in voice – is a calmer, more stationary presence. A fitting antidote to Thomas’ chaotic demeanour. Though he is somewhat subtle, everything about him says leader.
Lorna Thomas, of course, supplies a massive chunk of the evening’s vocals, her voice especially beautiful on ‘What Can I Say’. She brings so much fun too, venturing out into the audience for one segment. I don’t mean a mere stagedive, she gets right in there dancing with the Skinnies spectators, as a lover of live music and a good time.
With Tom Hillsden and Scott Milsom both reliable rocks on drums and double bass respectively, other highlights include ‘Damn the Amsterdam’ (from last year’s A Matter of Live & Love), ‘Arm Wrestling in Dresden’ and ‘Six Whiskies’, for which the band call their support acts – Tom Jenkins and Berries – back onstage. It feels utterly joyous.
And as if there isn’t enough love and friendship in the room, newlywed friends of the group are also invited up.
(Plus, Lorna hands out free booze to the crowd.)