The Streets


Mike Skinner is one of those artists for me… you either relate to him so much that every word plays on your heart, mind and gangster finger wave, or you can’t for a second imagine being in his shoes when he wrote legendary albums such as Original Pirate Material and The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living. Either way, it’s likely that he doesn’t care one bit.

Saturday’s The Streets gig at Manchester’s O2 Apollo is the last in three nights in Manchester and Skinner’s “0161 Manny on the map” chant throughout the show goes down a treat with the tanked up, packed out crowd.

The energy is unreal as Skinner and his four strong band and numerous appearing artists throw themselves around the stage and to the front of the crowd to songs from across his 17 years all night. ‘Let’s Push Things Forward’ and ‘Has It Come To This’ see the lights up at opportune moments.

Smashing through old and new, you’re struck with the depth that Skinner exudes, over and over again. I heard him on Annie Mac a few weeks ago and I was reminded then of his intelligence and compassion – a truly fascinating man.

A mixture of grime (‘Has It Come To This’ gets the best of them) and classics (there isn’t a dry eye in the house for ‘Never Went to Church’, including mine, and ‘I’m Nowhere Near’ brings a contemplative mood for a minute) make the hour and a half gig fly by in a rush.

He’s nothing but a showman too, crowd surfing contests and all for the diehard fans that almost pull him into the crowd on numerous occasions.

The serious grime vibes at the end take it up a notch – Skinner is in his element for the gnarly ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ and ‘Weak Become Heroes’ before he finishes up with the two classics – ‘Blinded by the Lights’ and ‘Fit But You Know It’. They go down an absolute storm and everyone leaves feeling battered but a little like they’ve just experienced something truly special.

And we have.

Do you know, I was about to say “he’s still got it” but I have a feeling this guy never lost it. I don’t think he ever will.

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