Skating Polly | Live Review & Photoset

13th September | Thunderbolt

Photos: Laure Noverraz

It’s harder to persuade the uninitiated into believing that Bristol is such a vibrant, fresh and exciting city now that summer is over. These three adjectives, however, could easily describe the sound of Oklahoma’s three-piece Skating Polly, who took the Thunderbolt by storm (hehe) on Thursday evening. The band have just released their fifth album, The Make It All Show, one that could definitely be described as their best work to date.

The venue is packed with families, which brought quite an unusual vibe to a rock concert. But that, in itself, also proved that these siblings can unify generations. They also give precisely zero fucks about what can happen. “Hey, there’s a bit of feedback in my mic. Don’t worry though,” says Kelli Mayo at the beginning of their set. The kid’s not even eighteen, and she’s already more professional than most (yes I’m looking at you, Snail Mail).

Their set is tight, raucous. Talent oozes from their instruments. From The Make It All Show to older material, Skating Polly balance their ‘ugly pop’, as labelled on Mayo’s bass, with dirtier, grungier rock. The three musicians swap their instruments at the end, becoming that fuzzy, organic mess that gives the set a massive twist. And apart from the fact that their sound could be dismissed as a bit too radio-friendly, we can’t argue how well these kids are doing.

From confident speech, to improv (jump around, fall down, don’t miss a note, get back up, finish the song, tie your shoelace, talk about how to tie your shoelace, start another song), it’s a spotless production for a band that’s here to stay. They have at least another thirty years to go before passing their ‘sell-by’ date, anyway.