Looking through the sea of snapbacks and dreads, it’s clear this is a Skints crowd.
Friday’s sold-out Gorilla gig saw the East London reggae fusion group smash their return to Manchester with a powerful reminder of why they’re so deserving of critical acclaim.
‘I love this city!’, proclaims east London lad Josh Waters Rudge to the baying audience – hardly original, but undeniably heartfelt.
Perhaps it’s to appease the Manchester crowd. After all, we are fiercely protective over our city – the same as the Skints over their native Southern roots.
‘London city I was born in – you know I love this town…’ sings drummer Jamie Kyriakides, opening with their fresh new summer single This Town – an ode to their love for the melting pot of musical cultures in the capital.
Joined by veteran reggae legend Tippa Irie, the crowd bounces to the song’s full-bodied, infectious rhythm and dulcet tones of vocalist Marcia Richards. It’s a powerful start to a strong set.
The tour is promoting their third studio album, FM, which upon its release earlier in the year saw it scoop the accolade of the biggest selling UK reggae record in just its first week.
The quartet has come a long way since their humble beginnings back in London in the late 2000s.
The fact this most recent tour has been a complete sell-out is testament to the impression The Skints have made on the UK reggae scene in the last decade.
Working through a selection of songs from FM, they’re keen not to ignore the classics like Rat-at-at and Up Against the Wall Riddim from their second album that earned them the respect they now modestly command.
Their second album’s ska cover of Katy B’s Katy On A Mission also makes an appearance as the band demonstrate their competency at effortlessly alternating between carnival skank and downbeat background music.
Even Josh admits they’re going places – Rising Up, as they’d say.
But for as long as they continuing to produce addictive feel-good summer anthems, I’m fine with that.
Image courtesy of Outpost Media/The Skints, with thanks