These Brooklyn punks could be big. Very big…
Venue: The Bodega, Nottingham
Date: August 31, 2013
Presumably it’s due to the fact that Skaters have, to date, just one EP and a couple of singles to their name that tonight’s set is so short. That’s not a criticism. You can only work with the tools you have. But such is the band’s rising star, the crowd wanted to hear more. And who could blame them.
Skaters are a mixture of four parts Yank, one part Brit, with guitarist Joshua Hubbard having appeared with post-Libs bands The Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things. They evoke classic images of their now native Brooklyn with a sound that nods and winks at The Strokes, but has elements of The Clash, Devo, The Ramones (naturally) and The Cars.
That Strokes reference is apparent throughout. On certain songs, where a minimalist punk ethos is aired, it’s as if Julian Casablancas has joined the band up there, but elsewhere, particularly on their dark, twisted and scathed single ‘Armed’, Joe Strummer and Co’s influence is clearly audible. It could’ve been lifted straight off of Combat Rock it’s so instantly recognisable.
With a Brit in the mix, there’s also a distinct waft of The Vaccines, too. But don’t allow all these references to let you believe they’re retro copyists or identikit chancers. Because Skaters, if they stick to their upward trajectory, could even surpass the likes of The Strokes and become NYC’s new great white hope.
Through a red hue, frontman Michael Ian Cummings looks like your archetypal skater punk with his unkept hair falling from a cap casually tossed upon his head (he’s not, though. In fact none of the band can actually skate. Fact).
After the Clash-like ‘Armed’, their trump card is played. And despite being early in the set, ‘I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)’, a song which should be as universal as happy birthday it’s so devilishly punking awesome, forms a moshpit as its bass-driven verse leads into an effervescent, rollicking chorus.
It’s the zenith of what is a special gig. Special because this band could be big. Really big. If they get their skates on.