SKATING POLLY | LIVE REVIEW
The Moon, Cardiff, Thurs 27 July
Being old enough to remember grunge in its first incarnation, I find myself in comfortable territory tonight at a packed and sweaty Moon Club, where the masses have gathered to witness its re-emergence. At the forefront of the grunge revival are Skating Polly and Hands Off Gretel, who are in Cardiff tonight to show those who missed it the first time what it was all about.
Proving to be more than adequate set openers are Cardiff’s own alt-rock/riot grrrl champions Think Pretty, who win over the crowd with their brand of early Pumpkins meets punk. Next up are south Yorkshire trio Hands Off Gretel, who’ve been creating quite a stir on the live scene in recent years, with prestigious slots at various festivals including Download. Fronted by the enigmatic Lauren Tate, they’ve nailed that fuzzed-out early Nirvana/Mudhoney sound and as much I wanted to avoid obvious comparisons with Courtney Love in this review, there’s no denying the similarities between the two. A triumphant set; for once, the hype is real.
Finally the trio that make up Skating Polly nervously take the stage, with the youngest of the sisters Kelli Mayo attempting an ill-advised Welsh greeting. At first glance, the band give off a deer-caught-in-the-headlights vibe… until they start playing, that is. The girls command the stage like seasoned veterans, as they lurch between Tegan And Sara-style pop, Breeders melodies and all out Daisy Chainsaw screaming. This is none more evident in tracks like Perfume For Now and Hail Mary – the latter cowritten by Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt, no less. They mesmerise the crowd with a stirring rendition of Bonnie Dobson’s folk classic Morning Dew, before we are back on familiar territory with the pit-inducing Hey Sweet and Stop Digging.
There’s a feeling amongst the people gathered here that we’ve witnessed something a bit special tonight. Skating Polly are currently on tour with Kate Nash and judging by this outing, bigger things surely await this trio.
words CHRIS ANDREWS