Mike Skinner is one of the world’s best frontmen. Common sense. Simple common sense.
Alongside “the fantasy football of line-ups for THE STREETS,” he was the captain of the ship named O2 Academy, Glasgow from the moment Turn the Page began at just before 9pm all the way until the last soul left the venue. Apologising constantly that it was a Monday night; instead of accepting that the crowd would perhaps be holding back, he insisted on taking each and every member of the sold out crowd on a journey from Monday to Friday in the space of an hour and a half.
Constantly bouncing patter off the audience; for example asking if someone was selling Mike Skinner masks and then telling them, and the 2,500 strong crowd, that he wouldn’t tell anyone that they were on MDMA, showcases exactly why calls for a The Streets comeback were so vociferous until April of last year. It isn’t just a gig. It is an experience. A feel-good nightclub kind of evening. It could have so easily been Skinner and The Streets doing 20 tracks from their almost-two-decades worth of material and few would grumble – but instead Skinner makes it a personal affair.
Another example is when he asks “can I trust you Glasgow?” before requesting a £10 note from someone side-of-stage and passing it from the barrier to the bar, via spotlight, to get himself a two-pint cup. He could have had a beer brought from the dressing room, but instead engaged with the crowd that, to be honest, would have ventured as far as Inverness if Skinner had asked. Also using his platform to highlight the importance of speaking out if you are struggling with mental health, he received a venue-wide applause whilst revealing the therapy he partook in last year.
In between all of this, The Streets did actually play some music and unsurprisingly it was as good as ever. As was the case in Leeds (and I assume other venues) last year, there was no need for gimmicks. No special effects. Nothing to divert attention away from what was a spectacle in itself. The classics, if you will, such as Weak Become Heroes and Dry Your Eyes received a raucous reception from the casual fans, but the likes of It’s Too Late and Everything is Borrowed were equally received and chanted back by the Burberry-clad punters.
What is particularly great about The Streets when you see them live is the ‘backing band.’ Not simply relying on himself to pull off a one-man-show with a microphone and backing track, there are guys like Cassell the Beatmaker and Rob Harvey to give The Streets extra dimensions and take them to the next level.
The only thing ‘lacking’ was Skinner‘s refusal to crowd surf due to a dislocated shoulder – which was coincidentally gained via jumping into the Birmingham in a Jesus pose. Opting to get everyone in “the biggest circle of your life” and commandeering it like he had done all night instead, the thousands of Glaswegians in attendance tonight will be craving a repeat in the not too distant future. With new material on the horizon, plus the threat of going to Edinburgh next time, I can guarantee that The Streets will be back in the greatest city on earth before long.