Grandiose talk about creative renewal and quitting while you’re on top is all well and good, but sometimes all a musician wants to do is crowdsurf to the nearest bar over the heads of a rowdy and adoring audience and neck a double vodka. Such was the suitably daft and lairy climax to this triumphant Scottish comeback gig from Mike Skinner’s The Streets.
The Streets, O2 Academy, Glasgow ***
After a lot of fanfare about 2011’s Computer and Blues being supposedly the “final” album by Skinner under the alias with which he shifted millions of records and proved one of the most influential figures of the 2000s in British music, the Birmingham-born hip-hop, garage and electronica artist-producer said he was determined to move on and reinvent himself.
And yet, following muted responses to his follow-on projects The D.O.T and The Darker the Shadow, The Brighter the Light, here he was again seven years on, tearing through an almost entirely retrospective Streets set. Nobody can have had any cause for complaint – the hits bubbled over like fizz from the bottles of champagne he insisted on shaking up and spraying over the audience for no good reason other than because he could.
Songs such as Let’s Push Things Forward and Weak Become Heroes where a reminder of how pioneering an album Skinner’s bedsit-made debut album 2002’s Original Pirate Material was. Songs like Don’t Mug Yourself and Dry Your Eyes were a reminder of how spot-on his invocations of laddish ennui and sentimentality can be. The bit at the end of Fit But You Know It when he was transported aloft by the audience towards his waiting stiff drink was a reminder of funny and ridiculous and chaotic his shows can be, and how much Skinner’s been missed.