Chaplin’s Cellar Bar, Boscombe

Stocks 'N Skins

Having recently hosted tonight’s openers at a recent Rock Regeneration charity event I came to see if they could nail it third on the bill in a more intimate setting. Skaema is one of a growing brand of British bands emerging under the banner of Post/Punk. Emerging just two years ago they have been gathering momentum live alongside tonight’s headliners, while honing their craft ready for their album’s release.

Visually the Cellar tonight looks more like a backstage scene, such is the amount of kit strewn around the pit area. But putting aside any petty first impressions Skaema open up with barely a line check or sound check. A half-full Cellar greets them but doesn’t remain half empty for long. They have a 13 song set tonight and dispense with idle between song chat in favour of just getting on with it. They open with “Happy Daze” and set the scene, its pure Post/Punk at its finest. “Watcher” follows before they unleash their finest three minute epic on us. From their debut EP we get “Sidewinder”. It has a menacing and anthemic chorus many bands would kill for – Neil’s vocals tonight sound like a man with a sore throat! “Go West” is humorously introduced as being about two of Britain’s lesser lights. “Devil in a Dress” however will no doubt become my new favourite Skaema song. The twisted chord section in the bridge is bettered only by the anthemic chorus. Duncan’s thudding bass throughout cannot be ignored, matched only by Andy’s precise hitting in the engine room. “Hey” is Stranglers-esque and stays with their early sound, which thankfully is still very apparent. Neil briefly discusses the future release of an album before launching into “Fixed Grin”, another highlight this evening and they depart us on a high with “The Scene”. The Buzzcocks-style guitars are a prominent feature as they bow out in a loud, furious manner.

Skaema 1234

Next up are Southampton’s Continental Liaison who are more Art/Rock than Post/Punk. They are in complete contrast to Skaema with their precise beats and samples. They are visually on point with their matching red tops, black trousers and in singer Bam they have a confident frontman with all the right moves. They have honed their sound somewhat since their last gig I witnessed some three or more years ago. Bam’s vocal is precise throughout, and direct at times as he leans onto his mic stand. Ryan (guitar/noises) to his left keeps the beat, matched only by Gwyn (keys/noises) who looks up only occasionally, such is his concentration on the job in hand. Their set opens with “Rules OK”. Their entire set is songs laced with over-riding sample intros and loud, spoken word film edits. “Lucretia” follows as we get their version of Electro/Post/Punk and while not unpleasant, isn’t going fill dancefloors in a hurry. That said they make a pleasant enough noise and on this bill aren’t out of place. “Digital Mind” is next and it’s more of the same digital (sic) sampling and accompanying noises. “Move On” has (IMO) hints of early Soft Cell, yet there are so many influences going on here it’s hard to separate. “Electricity” is powerful but overlong for my liking yet they save the best ’til last with “Disconnect” which is in marked contrast to the previous six songs. It’s more upbeat and less reliant on sampling throughout. They too leave to decent applause as we await the headliners.

Continental Liaison
Continental Liaison 12

With most of the gear in the pit area now clear StocknSkins take to the stage. Ade (vox/poetry) delivers a self-deprecating monologue of storytelling of how StocksnSkins came about before morphing into their beat/poetry opener “Short Back n Sides”. “Blue River Hamble” has a bassy/dub beat, courtesy of Rich (bass/beats/samples) with Ade’s passionate dialogue over the top. Now signed to Manchester’s “Analogue Trash Records” they may just have a point to prove. “Chewing Ya Up” precedes a rather apt ‘Summer Blue Skies, what with the “Beast of the East” heading our way once more. “Them Today” with its politically charged lyrics and social awareness is as relevant today as when it was written and first released. “Torn” precedes the brilliant “15 Sliders”, there’s a certain palate to their lyrics which most wonít get at first. Rather apt then that they follow that with “Pay Day”. They end on a high with the observational and celebratory “Boscombe by the Sea” and “Big City”. StocksnSkins will always be a marmite band and that’s how I think they’d rather be – who wants to follow when you can lead! Their beat/poetry may be lost on some but once they lose the ‘Sleaford Mods Tribute’ tag then bigger shows I’m sure are just around the corner, we shall see.

Stocks N Skins
Stocks N Skins 1

Set Lists
Happy Daze
Welcome to the Party
Go West
Devil in a Dress
Pay Day
Fixed Grin
Perm – Sol
Take the Last Exit
The Scene

Continental Liaison
Rules OK
Digital Mind
Move On

Short Back n Sides
Blue River Hamble
Chewing Ya Up
Summer Blue Skies
Them Today
15 Sliders
Pay Day
Boscombe by The Sea
Big City


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

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