The Skels – The Middle East, Cambridge, MA (January 17, 2002)

You can always tell how good a gig was by the size of your hangover and your lack of work productivity the next day and last nights Skels gig sure as hell left me with a splitting head, bad arse (Guinness farts and all) and a distinct lack of work done. This was meant to be a six band bill but the Casualties cancelled which was probably a good thing as the Middle East is a basement club and their fan’s lack of personal hygiene would have made the night unbearably smelly (the Skels playing with the Smels – bad joke).

I missed Tommy & The Terrors, caught the tail end of girlie power pop punks the Decals who seemed real good and the whole set by Random Road Mother who played trashy sleazy punk with a singer who seemed to have a Freddie Mercury thing going on with the microphone and some how I kept thinking of the LA Guns as I watched them.

Next up were everyone’s favorite Drew Carey lookalikes; the Skels who came on stage to chants of “you fat bastards” from the audience (well from me anyway). All dapper looking in the new clothes they got for Christmas; Chris in the Dublin GAA top, Henry in a Rangers jersey (New York not Glasgow) and Tim in that ratty old gray t-shirt he always wears. Scott also managed to keep his shirt on again and not scare any little old ladies who might happen upon the show.

The set was a 45 minute or so blast of energy especially with Scott who played his tin whistle like it was a weapon, I keep thinking the Skels must have been trashers in their youth as they played their songs at almost neck snapping trash metal speed (and they also seemed to have the whole synchronized thing going on ala Judas Priest -how about some head banging guys ?) that got the Punks pogoin’, Skinheads step dancing and some crazy little guy in a shirt and tie just absolutely freaking out.

The set was a good mix of stuff from both Stoney Road and the Book of Skels and some new punkie drinking songs. Highlight’s for me were Swing, set finisher Broken Heart in Every Empty Glass and of course the very brilliantly danceable Finest White Girl. The Skels encored with Darkbuster’s “I hate the Unseen”, played Dropkick Murphys style with half the audience jumping on stage – great stuff.

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