It’s wonderful to see the Mayo/Bighorse siblings better known as Skating Polly back in south Wales: regular visits to our fair country have ensured the Oklahoma natives are afforded a welcome in the hillside every time they come back, and tonight at Clwb Ifor Bach is no different.
It’s heartwarming to witness just how far the band have come. Having seen them as shy teenagers across the road in The Moon back in 2018, a rock behemoth strides onstage before me in 2024. They blast into back-to-back tracks from last year’s Chaos County Line – Singalong and Hickey King – with Kelli showing herself as the focal point of the band as she kicks and contorts herself around the place, while big sister Peyton and brother Kurtis lay down a solid foundation of fuzzed out riffs and thundering drums.
But the beauty of Skating Polly is their ability to switch it up, which is shown when Peyton steps forward for the awesome Louder In Outer Space and Free Will At Ease – her voice providing a PJ Harvey-esque alternative to little sis’ Kathleen Hannah snarl. Live favourite Pretective Boy is rolled out, quickly followed by Nothing More Than A Body and evoking a fevered reaction from the crowd, who seem to hang on the band’s every word.
Both of the girls combine to maximum effect for the brooding yet booming Hail Mary, and then it’s back into full-on destruction Skating Polly smashing through the grungey, Mudhoney-styled Camelot and They’re Cheap (I’m Free) including a cheeky instrument swap which sees Kurtis get some time on the six-string. It’s sweaty, raucous fun and that’s just on the stage.
The continuing rise of Skating Polly is something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed witnessing, and with band members still not far into their twenties, it’s likely that most of their career is still in front of them, and that we’ve not seen their peak yet. A frightening prospect…
Skating Polly, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Wed 24 Jan
words CHRIS ANDREWS photos JOSEPH ELIJAH