Tag Archives: skating polly

Skating Polly: live review

Photo by Vicki Thompson

Skating Polly and the Menstrual Cramps at the Sebright Arms, Shoreditch, 10/09/2018 – live review by Vicki Thompson

I arrive to find an almost empty room when I potter downstairs to the basement venue at the Sebright Arms – but I’m too early. I head upstairs to kill time, and find that I’m in a classic London public house – stained glass above its beautiful wooden bar, fairy lights and hanging ivy in the corners, a good beer selection on tap or by the bottle, plus a few nice whiskies if you’re partial, too!
I meet a stranger at the bar who I make idle chit-chat with, and I ask her when the band starts, to which her reply was, “Oh, not until half 9“, meaning Skating Polly. I tell her the support act are really great and worth watching too, to which she replies, “Yeah, I really want to check them out!“, proceeding to order a plate of cheese fries that will almost certainly arrive during their set.

I dive back down the rabbit hole to find that the venue is now beginning to fill up. I move in close to the front to get a good view, and singer Emilia is already on stage, crouched down. She asks a friend in the crowd “Is it time? Should we start?“. Within moments we’re dancing away to the first track of the Menstrual Cramps set – Hashtag Sad Penis, which features on their last release, We’re not Ovaryacting. Emilia is sporting a hand-drawn shirt design to further drive the point home, featuring a crying aubergine with the words “No more dick pics” emblazoned beneath. The first track sets a high energy bar for the night and captivates their audience. I was at their very first show a few years back, and every time I’ve seen them since that debut, they’ve never failed to replicate the same energy they had that night. You can’t help but cheer them on.

Photo by Vicki Thompson

I love how much of themselves they throw into their music. Between songs, they talk about the rejection they’ve had from the old-guard of the punk scene, particularly from Nazis (but who’d want their acceptance?!) who’ve told them they have no place to be making this music, that they “weren’t there” and they have no business existing. This I can relate to a lot, as a performer in the black metal scene. The rejection and estrangement I’ve felt from other artists who don’t believe a woman should play this sort of music (and have no problem telling you this), the idiotic elitists who idolise some of the more questionable roots of the genre, and the struggle to make yourself heard against the vitriol. I salute the Menstrual Cramps for taking the backlash against them and turning it on its head; for using their voices and subverting their negative experiences for the creation of great art. They turned all this into a song called Neo Nazi, which went down a storm.

Photo by Vicki Thompson

The rest of their set continues the trend – they play magnificently, wearing their hearts and their politics on their sleeves as ever. We fling ourselves about to their anthem I like that top inspired by the gentrification of Bristol. We are told not to separate art from its artist, and not to idolise our Idols – words which cause a stir in me, and ring a parallel once again to the black metal scene that is often guilty of both charges. Unabashed, unashamed and a real entertainment, the Menstrual Cramps go out to thunderous, well-deserved applause. A fun and thought-provoking set, featuring a mix of songs from their previous release and their new album, Freebleedin’.

A quick dive up and back downstairs later, Skating Polly haven’t even started yet but I’m already in awe of their stage outfits as they set up. Red silks and collars, white fringe, hearts tattooed on knees and so much rock n roll glamour! They’re just as I remember them from Bristol, supporting Babes in Toyland about three years ago. My hype builds as much as the lime and soda I was given on the house upstairs bubbles in my hands. I’m near the front again, but with not quite as clear a view as I had for the Menstrual Cramps. And the demographic of the crowd around me has changed somewhat. For the Cramps I had a gaggle of other young (mostly) women dancing with and around me, but for Skating Polly I note that I am surrounded by older dudes. One of them has terrible B.O.

mdeAs Skating Polly start playing, it dawns on me that nearly all of them are photographers, and they’re really quite tall. They mob in front of me, and being fairly short I have no choice but to climb onto a nearby step at the side of the stage to be able to see at all, which sucks. “Oh well, three song rule.”, I think to myself.

But they don’t leave after three songs and stay put, taking photos for the entire set.

I try not to let it dampen my enjoyment too much, and it doesn’t, for sisters and brother (a new addition!) trio Skating Polly are incredibly entertaining, playing a super dynamic show for us. Their star power shines over any technical issues (“it wouldn’t be ‘Ugly Pop’ if everything fucking worked!” cries Kelli as the snare drum breaks), and their vocal talent and instrument-swapping dazzles throughout. Everyone sings along and it’s a little bit magical. They wow us with another high energy start to the set, just as their support act did, and tell us that a new video of theirs for their song, Free Will At Ease has literally just dropped over in the States, which they then play for us. This one’s a song led by Peyton, about healing from a shitty past relationship, something that anyone could relate to.

Once again, I admire how much of themselves they put into the music. Kelli tells us a story as she tunes her 3 string white Fender bass, about a guy back in Oklahoma who said he hated her music, especially “that screamy shit she did”. So in defiant retaliation she wrote the “most screamiest, most shittiest song she could”. She plays it and screams wide-eyed and furious into the microphone as she high-kicks the air, everyone eating it up. Their pacing is on point, giving the audience a chance to mellow down between high energy numbers with quieter, more thoughtful tracks like Little Girl Blue and the Battle Envy from their new album, The Make It All Show. Towards the end of the night, Kelli dives into the crowd to crowd surf almost against the roof of the sweatbox venue as she continues playing, which was badass as hell.

And that says it all really. Overall, a fantastic night! A bit of a shame about the photographers obscuring the view thoughout Skating Polly, but it didn’t ruin the night. I would urge any London promoters to enforce the “three song rule” more strictly in venues without especially elevated stages. And you, dear reader, if you ever get the chance to watch either band, you should. I picked up both bands’ latest releases at the merch tables and neither fail to impress.


Skating Polly: UK Tour With Kate Nash and Hands Off Gretel

by  – published on Louderthanwar on 29 May 2017 

polly euro tour 2017


Skating Polly tour the UK and Europe: dates with Kate Nash and Hands Off Gretel in July/August 2017

Now this is very exciting.  One of the brightest and best new bands from the USA, Skating Polly return to the UK at the end of July.  The still ridiculously young band, made up of step-sisters Kelli and Peyton, have extended the line-up to include brother/step-brother Kurtis on drums.

Their latest EP  is called ‘ New Tricks’ and featured the talents of Nina Gordon and Louise Post from Veruca Salt. Videos for two of the songs thereon are hereabouts.

Half of the dates are with Kate Nash on her “Made of Bricks” 10th anniversary tour.  Kate has been a long time Skating Polly fan so it’s  very cool of her to pick them to support her, and they in turn are chuffed at the prospect.

The Pollys headlining dates see them linking up again with another great UK act Hands Off Gretel (currently working on their second album and seemingly never off the road.) The dates are below.

polly gretel dates

I seem to have written about Skating Polly quite a few times for Louder Than War so sod objectivity, here are the links and highlights from;

The Ged Babey / Louder Than War / Skating Polly Archives 

Support slot with Babes In Toyland reviewed 

The very special support act, Oklahoma Riot Grrrl teens Skating Polly were a huge bonus. Two step-sisters aged 15 and 18, who must be the offspring of a Riot Mom and Riot Pop, swap instruments, drums and bass and bash out an amazing racket of Bratmobile style pop.  Songs about perceptions of beauty (Ugly) and “correctional juvey” with an unapologetically sloppy & screechy attitude and joie de vivre.

The Big Fit Album Review  

The songs are packed with teenage angst, doubt, cockiness,  rage, confusion and drama.  But they are not literal and linear. Some are baffling and seem to have been as influenced by Dr Seuss (The Cat In the Hat) and Roald Dahl (Matilda etc) as by Kurt and Courtney.

Now, a 52 year old man saying that about a 15 year old female songwriter may appear patronizing and crap but those books are works of genius and help younglings understand the world and introduce grotesques and surrealism and feed the imagination – so I’m not (being patronizing).   It’s actually wonderfully refreshing that they are not singing in rock’n’roll cliches, and that’s why Skating Polly are absolutely brilliant and the most interesting underground rock band in the USA today.

Tour promo piece

Skating Polly are probably the best new band to come out of the USA for years…. near-perfect.  Hit-Girls with guitars and stories to tell.

Live in Salisbury 2016  

Skating Polly perform like hardened professionals, yet retain a jubilant sense of this-could-fall-apart at any moment.  They rock like the Pixies used to and friends compared them what they imagined seeing X-Ray Spex and the Slits in their early days would have been like.  I have tried to avoid labelling them ‘punk’ as that would associate them with the past, when they are the future.

Video round-up

Skating Polly leave me lost for words. They are just amazing. … they have made videos for all of the songs from their album and every one is a work of art.

So don’t miss them!


Tour dates and ticket links are here  

Official Website     

You-Tube Account with all their videos.  

All words by Ged Babey.

new music Feb–Apr

A round up of new releases we’re getting excited about.

New tracks 
Downtown Boys – Somos Chulas
Nia Wyn – Help Me
The Nyx – Hideaway
Skating Polly – Hail Mary
Pearl Harts – Hit the Bottle
Dream Wife – Somebody
Grace Savage – Medusa

Pink Grip – Demo EP
The Whooper-Ups – Sensible Daydreams EP
Yur Mum – Live EP
Blondie – Fun/Monster
IDestroy – Annie/98%
Screaming Toenail – Food Chain  EP
PAMs – Phasers EP
Cat Apostrophe – World is Fucked EP
Sunflower Theives – Hold the Storm EP
Blindness – The Monsoon EP

Cherry Glazerr – Apocalypstik
Desperate Journalist – Grow Up LP
The Darts – The Darts
The Menstrual Cramps – We’re Not Overyacting
The Courtneys – Courtneys II 
Party Fears – Part Fears LP
Hurray for the Riff Raff – Navigator LP
The Kut – Raw – demos CD
Trigger Warning and the Safe SpacesEverything is Problematic! LP
Sneaks – Act Out LP

V/A compilations
Kobayashi I – Intergalactic Warriors
Hang In There – A DIY Covers Compilation

Pending releases

Feature – Banishing Ritual LP Apr 07
The Baby Seals – Lips Are Sealed Apr 07
Long Teeth – Canned Laughter Apr 20
Darling Buds – Evergreen EP April 21
The Nyx – The Nyx EP – April 21
Skating Polly – New Trick EP Apr 28
Wolf Girl – Moody/Get You – May 5
Blondie – Pollinator – May 5
Oh! Gunquit – Lightning Likes Me – LP May 19
Coathangers – Parasite EP – Jun
Lorde – Melodrama 2nd LP – Jun

20 recommended recents

by kris smith

Deux Furieuses
Tracks of Wire
LP (May 2016)

Fight Rosa Fight /
Little Fists
Split EP (Aug 2016)
Charla Fantasma
No Excuses, Baby!
EP (Aug 2016)

Actual Crimes
Ceramic Cat Traces
LP (Aug 2016)

Wipe Me Dry
EP (April 2016)

Peach Club
The Bitch Diaries
EP (April 2016)

As Ondas
LP (June 2016)


She Makes War
Direction of Travel
LP (April 2016)

Jilt the Jive
LP (April 2016)


Are the Winners Always Losers?
EP (July 2016)

September Girls
Age of Indignation
LP (April 2016)


EP (May 2016)

Prime Time
Going Places
EP (May 2016)


¡Ay Carmela!
Working Weeks
LP (July 2016)

White Lung
LP (May 2016)
Nervous Twitch
Don’t Take My TV
LP (Feb 2016)

Neurotic Fiction
EP (Jan 2016)

Alimony Hustle
All Strikes No Gutters
EP (Mar 2016)

Skating Polly
The Big Fit
LP (Mar 2016)
Otoboke Beaver
LP (Mar 2016)


and look out for these …

The Tuts Update Your Brain LP (Sept)

Skinny Girl Diet Heavy Flow LP (Sept)

NOTS  Cosmetic LP  (Sept)

Las Kellies  Friends and Lovers LP (Oct)