Skating Polly @ Jimmys, Liverpool, UK, 25th March 2022 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Skating Polly

Skating Polly @ Jimmys, Liverpool, UK, 25th March 2022,

Mar 30, 2022 Web Exclusive Photography by Andy Von Pip Bookmark and Share

Sometimes it takes seeing a band live to appreciate just how good they are. This of course, is something that’s been sorely missed during the pandemic - to see artists up close and personal, to feel that kinetic energy and experience the raw power of a live performance.

Oklahoma’s step-sibling trio Skating Polly, comprising Peyton McKenna Bighorse, Kelli Mayo and Kurtis Mayo arrived in Liverpool as part of their much delayed European tour and promptly tore into a set full of frenzied energy passion and raw talent. In short, it had pretty much everything you’d want from a live show. It’s difficult to comprehend that the band have been around since 2009 formed by Kelli and Peyton when they were just 9 and 14 years old respectively, but their youth has long since stopped being a talking point as with each release and tour the band have unequivocally proved themselves to be hugely talented songwriters and performers. Stylistically, they can pretty much do it all from punk thrash to visceral grunge rock to melodic emotive pop with subtle hints of Americana. In terms of musical tones, they can channel raging fury and brooding menace, introspective beauty and then flick a switch and suddenly hit you with soaring melodies that are impossible not to feel uplifted by.

The band have made no secret of their musical touchstones ranging from Nirvana to Bikini Kill and Hole to Fiona Apple, (they’ve even done a cheeky Half Man Half Biscuit cover in the past!) but Skating Polly are much more than the sum total of their musical references. Their self described “Ugly Pop” is a mix of killer pop songs that are fed through the Skating Polly filter of distortion, imbuing them with a sense of visceral swaggering fuzzed up raging glory.

The show kicks off with the acerbic patriarchal takedown, “Queen for a Day” from their most recent album 2018’s The Make It All Show which beautifully segues into “Louder In Outer Space.” The latter really showcases Kelli and Peyton’s ability to harmonise beautifully. (Incidentally, the original studio recording featured Louise Post & Nina Gordeon from seminal Riot Grrrl act Veruca Salt, which just shows the respect Skating Polly’s peers have for them). It’s a blistering set full of energy seamlessly blending old classics with new material such as the sublimly spikey “Sorry For Apologizing” and “The Hickey King of Little League” demonstrating their ability to switch pace and tone within one song.” The new material certainly whets the appetite for the band’s forthcoming album which should be recorded this year and released around November.

It’s a perfectly judged set affording the band the opportunity to really mix things up and as you might expect given their back catalogue , is full of highlights. “Oddie Moore” for example, from their 2016 release, The Big Fit allows Peyton to give a towering vocal performance. The chiming “Free Will At Ease” has a wonderful reflective quality and even adversity is turned into a positive when during the set a snapped guitar string sees Peyton leave the stage whilst Kelli and Kurtis think on their feet. They decide to play a fantastic drum and bass version of “Carrots” from the band’s 2013 debut album “Lost Wonderfuls”. It’s a tune Mayo wrote when she was 12 years old and admits it’s a track she swore she’d never play live again.

The set concludes with an encore featuring the combative empowering punk fuelled rush of “Camelot” which calls out the endemic misogyny that still permeates frat-boy culture. Throughout the evening the band switch roles which sees Kelli and Peyton swapping between bass and guitar, whilst Peyton and Kurtis switch guitar and drums and it remains pretty much flawless.

Skating Polly have earned a reputation for their incendiary live shows, and on tonight’s showing reports of their greatness has been perhaps somewhat understated. The overriding impression you’re left with as the band exit the stage is that Skating Polly truly are a glorious unstoppable force of nature.


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