Live review: Less Than Jake with Skinny Lister, Toasters and Millie Manders and The Shutup – 8/4/22

For the penultimate night of their UK tour, Florida favourites Less Than Jake brought their kick-ass show to the O2 Academy Bristol for a night of punk-ska fun! With another three support bands on the bill, we knew we would be in for a good night!

Opening the show was Millie Manders and The Shutup, a UK based 5 piece ska-punk band. Although Millie’s background and origin into music may have been through the classical and jazz scene, these guys style was far from it. Millie moved and danced around the stage for almost the entire set, only stopping to play some accompanying saxophone! This was the first time I’ve heard of these guys, let alone seen them play live, but given the chance I’ll certainly be seeing them again.

Next on the bill was Toasters, all the way from New York. These boys have been rocking the Ska scene for many years, and it’s clear to see why they are still going. As a band, there is so much enthusiasm and fun in the way they play and perform, and they bring the audience along too! Seeing Toasters live is less of a gig, and more of a right of passing into the Ska world. A special mention has to go the keys player, Dave Barry, for the sheer workout it must be to play like he does. An audience member described it to me as “karate chopping the keyboard.” If that doesn’t sum it up I don’t know what else to say.

After this was old friends Skinny Lister. This is the fourth time seeing Skinny live, and even though they were a support act, they owned the stage and captivated the audience just as well as any main band could have done. It was a shame Sam couldn’t make it and they had a backup drummer standing in (I’m really sorry for forgetting his name), but nevertheless it was still a killer of a set.

You could tell this was going to be a good, lively night, by about midway through Skinny Lister’s set the mosh pits were breaking out and people were dancing round, singing back and having a good time, all signs of a good show – and when that’s just the support it’s signs of good things to come!

Although three support bands means it is a long night, it was still a brilliant opening to the show.

And then it was time for the main act of the night.

Less Than Jake are known for both the good music, and putting on a good show, and Friday night was certainly no disappointment. Right from the off, the crowd went wild, and the band were not much behind them. Just like Toasters, LTJ may have been rocking out and ska-ing for a few years, but they still have the energy and stage presence that they had when they first started as a band.

Although this was sort of the tour for the latest album Silver Linings, the band still kept the more established fans on side by playing all the old classics. Last One Out Of Liberty City is a great choice for a set opener, not too obscure but also giving yourself a bit of a build up, and what a build up it was!

Throughout the rest of the night we were treated to more amazing dance moves, both on stage, off stage and by one audience member on the stage, toilet roll cannons, a guy in a mask dancing around the stage, and so much more. Less Than Jake do have a fun habit of picking on audience members, and I think most of them were in good spirits to have a bit of a joke around with the band – including one young lad who was at his first ever gig! I know I said this about Shed Seven a couple of weeks ago but what a gig to go to for your first.

The music played on, the crowd continued to go wild and good times were had by all. The Ghosts Of Me And You made way for the first big finish of the night, and with the classic walk-off-walk-on ritual and the “ONE MORE SONG” chant, the boys headed back onto the stage to play the not so well known (but still well received) My Very Own Flag, and of course the proper big finish had to be All My Best Friends Are Metalheads. For one last time the crowd went wild and there were smiles across the stage as they departed the stage one final time. What a show these guys put on. Next time they are back in town, I’ll certainly be seeing them live again.

As a side note to this, during Friday night’s gig I was sexually assaulted by a member of the audience. Sexual assault and harassment is not OK in any setting, and if you think it is acceptable, you need to take a serious look at yourself. I would like to say a massive thank you to the venue staff and security who did a brilliant job of removing the induvial from the venue and supporting me through it.

To find out more about Bristol Nights and their It’s not OK campaign, click here.

Review and photographs by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

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